A new horizon in healthcare was revealed, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday inaugurating the country's first Super Specialised Hospital under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in Dhaka.
"This hospital will be an alternative option for many Bangladeshis opting to go abroad for treatment," the premier said as she virtually joined the inaugural function from her official residence Ganabhaban.
"Once it is put into operation, the country will save approximately Tk350 crore annually," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said about 5,000-8,000 patients will be privy to outdoor services every day.
"I believe that this hospital will open up new horizons for medical research," she added.
Project Director Professor Dr Zulfiqur Rahman Khan told The Business Standard, "Although inaugurated on Wednesday, the hospital will go into operation in December. The installation of equipment is not finished yet and recruitment of manpower is ongoing."
He expressed his hope the hospital – if run by efficient manpower and sound management – will open up a new horizon in healthcare services in the country.
With state-of-the-art equipment and modern operation theatres, the BSMMU Super Specialised Hospital will provide treatment to all critical patients referred by any public or private hospital, or a physician.
The prime minister emphasised doctors' training and medical research. She urged doctors to expand their horizons and visit rural areas to provide necessary healthcare to the underprivileged.
"Emphasis should be placed on medical research. Research in the field of health is still insufficient. I urge expert doctors to pay heed to research in addition to providing services," she said.
The state-of-the-art specialised hospital has been built at a cost of Tk1,366 crore on 3.4 acres of land to the north of the BSMMU. Of the construction cost, South Korea provided Tk1,047 crore as a loan.
"We thank the Korean government for its financial and technical support in the implementation of this project. I sincerely thank all those who donated the land," the prime minister remarked.
She also noted that experienced doctors from around the world should be given the opportunity to come to Bangladesh and provide training to the country's healthcare officials.
Sheikh Hasina said the decision to upgrade the Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (IPGMR) to BSMMU was announced on 31 July 1997 through a gazette notification by the health ministry.
"We were the first to establish a medical university in the country," she said.
At the function, South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun said, "The BSMMU Super Specialised Hospital will be a milestone not only because it is the first specialised hospital in Bangladesh for the treatment of critical patients but also because it will serve as a symbol of ever-lasting and ever-strengthening friendship between Korea and Bangladesh."
More than 50 health specialists from Korea will work in the hospital for two years from its opening, he added.
The ambassador said Korea and Bangladesh have taken a long journey together during the past five decades with shared values and goals towards the prosperity of the two countries, enhancing the wellbeing of the two peoples and the peace of the region and beyond.
"Korea is proud of being a close partner of Bangladesh throughout its journey of making a remarkable achievement as one of the fastest growing countries in the world," he added.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque, who presided over the function, said strict supervision has been arranged in all hospitals to improve the quality of healthcare.
"We have taken various steps to ensure that people get proper services in government hospitals, the benefits of which will be available in a few days," he added.
Medical Education and Family Welfare Division Secretary Md Saiful Hassan Badal was a special guest at the inaugural session.
Earlier on 13 September 2018, the prime minister laid the foundation stone of the specialised hospital.
Officials said the hospital will have 750 beds. There will also be 14 ultra-modern operation theatres, a 100-bed intensive care unit, a 100-bed emergency unit, six VVIP and 22 VIP cabins, and 25 deluxe cabins.
The specialised services include bone marrow transplant, gene therapy, and robotic surgery.
There will also be six designated centres for particular medical needs, while each ward will have eight beds.
The six designated centres include those for specialised autism, maternal care and childcare, emergency medical care, hepatobiliary and gastroenterology, cardiology and cerebrovascular diseases, and nephrology at the primary stage.
Centres at the secondary stage include those for respiratory medicine, general surgery, ophthalmology, dentistry, dermatology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Around 1,500 healthcare staffers including 300 physicians will provide services to patients at the hospital.
To this end, at least 120 doctors, nurses and other officers have already received training in South Korea.
Every activity of the hospital will be done through an automated system, and patient data will be on the record for 100 years.
Apart from pharmacy, there will be banking facilities within the hospital.