Journey through Bangladesh
Getting Better, Free
There is a small but well equipped hospital at a village about 25 kilometers off Magura district town. It runs on charity, and has been providing a commendable service to the rural people for about 18 years.
People in the area now consider the hospital a sacred place. The hospital treats their ailments free of cost. “It's a sacred place to us as it not only gives us free medical service but it also delivers medicines and such goods to distant places,” said Sufia Khatun of Kajoli village.
“Earlier, we had to run to the district headquarters and spend huge amounts, but after setting up the hospital the troubles are over”, she said. “This hospital also created health awareness among local people in the area in last 14 years”, Md. Aminuddin, a teacher of a local high school in the area proudly said.
The hospital has six staff members including a doctor and nurses. People in nearby areas are all highly satisfied with the work ethic and performance of doctors and staffs at the four-bed Alhaj M.A. Khalique Hospital at Kajoli village in Sreepur upazila.
“150 to 170 patients are given free treatment and medicines daily, except on Fridays”, said Dr. Ajit Kumar Biswas a full-time doctor working at the hospital. The hospital remains open for 24 hours, he said.
“The hospital has all facilities for the treatment of common diseases. Patients attacked with serious diseases like heart ailments and tuberculosis are given primary treatment and forwarded to Magura or any other hospital for better treatment”, he informed.
“We never move for any other hospital before consultation with the doctors and staffs of MA Khaleque hospital although our patients pose to be in a critical condition”, said Saiful Islam in the area.
Md. Shamsul Azam a retired engineer and noted industrialist hailing from Kajoli village established the hospital in 1994 and named it after his late father Alhaj MA Khaleque. He bears all the costs for running the hospital, including those for salaries and medicines to distribute among the patients free of cost, the hospital staff informed.
The hospital has one MBBS doctor, one government trained rural physician, a nurse, two ward boys and a night guard.
Official sources said, at least Tk 60 to 70 thousand taka per month is needed to run the hospital and Shamsul Azam personally pays for everything.
Shamsul Azam said, “I set up the hospital at Kajoli only to help the poor people of my village home with free treatment and I think my dream has come true.”
(R) thedailystar.net 2008