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      Volume 10 |Issue 44 | November 25, 2011 |


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To Criticise or not to Criticise

It's all too easy to criticise our public health institutions for their inefficiency, shortage of doctors/facilities and unhygienic conditions. I don't mean to deny that the DMCH is a place where all sorts of questionable practices take place – I myself have experienced the dealings of dalals and bribery there ­– but I think we should also pay a little more attention to the fact that despite all types of shortage, the doctors do an incredible job in saving lives. In the private hospitals, the doctors are equipped with the best facilities and support staff, and get remunerated for their work – they are some of the best-off people in Dhaka city. But our doctors in the public hospitals often have to work in the most challenging of conditions. Their hands are always full and they are made to work to their full capacity. Again, I don't want to claim that the DMCH or its doctors are above criticism, but I think that we should be a little less harsh in our judgments on the people who continue to work there irrespective of the harsh conditions.

Mahmud Alam

On the DMCH

Photo: Amirul Rajiv

It is indeed heartening to see The Star highlight the plights of patients at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). Right to Health is one of the fundamental rights that any human being should have, and it is also guaranteed in our constitution, which so solemnly tells us that the duty of the state is to make sure that every citizen has access to good healthcare.

But what we see in reality makes fun of all the principles that the state and its apparatuses are supposed to uphold. Doctors do not turn up at hospital wards at times when they are needed the most, nurse's act like shy princesses, hospital corridors are littered with filth and stink of urine. It does not take a lot to clean the mess that has been plaguing this sick hospital, but those who are responsible for wiping off the impurities are themselves to be blamed for the sorry state of the DMCH.

The management of the hospital is inept, and allegation of corruption is rife. It has been alleged that allotment to cabins is done in exchange of bribes, touts and other unsocial elements prowl on the DMCH and rob the poor of whatever they have. I beseech the Star to run a bigger story to further expose those who are playing with our healthcare system.

Abu Sahir bin-Noor

Not Caught on Tape!

Photo: Amirul Rajiv

The article on the Central Public Library published last week made me remember an anecdote an acquaintance of mine shared with us one day. He said that he had slowly but noticeably torn the pages from an old book of his in front of one of the CCTVs (pretending it was a library book). He wanted to check whether the CCTV cameras worked and if someone would come running to stop him from committing such an atrocious crime. Predictably, nothing happened. So he carried out the same experiment in front of three other CCTVs, with the same result.

Reading Zillur Rahman's comment about the drug dealers and sex workers and how they are the reason that the library is closed overnight made me realise that the authorities could have fixed the problem with just a simple solution (had they so wished). They could've fixed the cameras and employed one or two people to monitor the library facility. That way, our library books would be safe, and we could keep the facilities open without the fear (and the allegation!) that it would turn into a drug den.

Shamonli Karmoker
Magbazar, Dhaka

The Cult of Consumption

For me, the humourous, and yet thought provoking “Postscripts” are a major attraction of “The Star”. I often find myself reading the sarcastic pieces with a grin. The most amusing characteristic of the columns is that the narrator develops, for lack of a better word, an intimacy with the reader. So, the reader can locate him/herself with the experience of the compassionate and at the same time playful writer with ease.

In last week's “Supermaket Experience”, the writer, in simple words, seemed to have hinted at commodity fetish that characterises the urban upper middle class's lifestyle. People's ritualistic shopping habits have also been ridiculed with commendable wit and brilliance. However, it should also be noted that it is our culture, the advertisement driven mass media that produces and reproduces—and, for that matter, perpetuates—the cravings for endless consumption in people. But when we see most of our eminent cultural personalities in the advertisement-making industry, we better understand how things have come to this pass.

Raihan Bin Shafiq
Kalabagan, Dhaka

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