The rise of Shahed and Sabrina has been possible due to the unholy nexus in the health sector. Like many others, the duo are beneficiaries of the corrupt system
Thanks to Shahed and Dr Sabrina, we now know of an unique news during the coronavirus pandemic: issuance of fake coronavirus test reports without testing samples. They have used their institutions to commit the heinous act to make quick bucks victimising the panic stricken helpless people.
It is a unique news as such news is rare in any other country--be it developed or developing.
What they have done should be considered crimes against humanity as their misdeeds have put people's lives at risk. Their actions are tantamount to aiding Covid-19 to kill and sicken more people, undermining the government's efforts to contain the pace of the virus. Their wrongdoings have also tarnished the country's image as their hospitals issued fake certificates to people travelling to other countries. In short, they are collaborators of the deadly virus.
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We receive the distressful news at a time when people are already exhausted due to the pandemic that rattled the country's economy and threw millions into joblessness. They don't know when they will get their jobs back as there is no sign of the virus curve being flattened.
The other side of the story is even more dangerous. Their misdeeds are a mere manifestation of the messy health sector, both public and private. Numerous reports of unhindered corruption in the public health sector have been published in the media over the past years.
The health sector has also produced some chilling stories. Blessed by the people in power some contractors have embezzled huge amounts of money through corruption in medical equipment purchases. Petty officials have become millionaires thanks to corrupt practices.
The health sector has been sickened by corruption and bribery involving some doctors, officials and employees. But little action has been taken against them. The Anti-Corruption Commission has been investigating more than three dozens of cases for years. But the investigations are unending.
Thanks to the successive governments' negligence to the health sector, businesses of the private hospitals and diagnostic centres have been thriving. With the blessing of powerful persons in the health ministry, some private hospitals have been able to engage in reckless business in the name of providing health services. Even during the pandemic, some private hospitals were accused of overcharging patients for coronavirus testing and treatment.
The rise of Shahed and Sabrina has been possible due to the unholy nexus in the health sector. Like many others, the duo are beneficiaries of the corrupt system.
Take Dr Sabrina's case. Being a government employee, it is a punishable offence to hold the post of chairman in a private institution without the permission of the government and also embezzlement according to law. But she had been holding a post of chairman of JKG Health Care while working in National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD). She had flouted the legal provision to become a private employee.
Numerous social media postings exposed how fraudster Shahed had developed relations with ministers, politicians and senior journalists and then exploited the relations to expand his health business by setting up Regent hospital.
After Dr Sabrina was arrested while Shahed remains on the run, we saw a flurry of actions against them by various agencies of the government. This is the typical model of working by the government agencies. This we have noticed in numerous cases. Take the law enforcement agencies' crackdown on casinos last year. Some leaders of the ruling party's front organisations used to run illegal gambling for years. Police knew it, but they did not take action. Suddenly a crackdown on the casino kingpins took the illegal business apart. But others who were beneficiaries of the illegal gambling empire were not brought to the book.
Now, by bringing only Shahed and Sabrina to the book, there will be little achievement in the removal of the entrenched regime of corruption. If the corrupt system is not broken, people like Shahed and Sabrina will be born again to fill the vacuum.
A thorough investigation into their cases will lead to detection of the virus in the health sector that is no less dangerous than Covid-19.
Health sector experts have long been demanding for action in the sector to bring discipline in it.
They think such actions are required to reorganise the health sector to fight Covid-19 that may last for years as has been warned by the WHO.
Such moves, if taken by the government, may contribute to restoring people's confidence in the public health system which is very important during the pandemic.
In this unprecedented crisis, keeping people's mental health good is also important to recover the economy from the fallout of the virus.
In a bid to reduce people's tiresome feeling, the virus-stricken European countries have resumed football leagues. In addition to the football league, England has also organised cricket Test matches.
It is because it is the people who work behind the country's economic growth.
The recent remarks of Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz is noteworthy: "There can be no economic recovery until the virus is contained, so addressing the health emergency is the top priority for policymakers."
So, streamlining our ailing health sector should be a part of the government's move to recover the economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. The message is clear: no health, no recovery. And corruption is the deadliest virus in the health sector.