Private Hospital and Clinic

Private Hospital and Clinic privately managed organisation in which sick and injured persons are given healthcare and treatment. A clinic however, usually provides treatments to non-resident patients. Traditionally healthcare has been an important activity of the government since the British period and the trend continued after Bangladesh was created in 1971. During the early 1990s Bangladesh firmly committed itself to free market economy with the result that the healthcare sector slowly began to attract greater attention of the private sector. At present, most of the country's hospitals are in the government sector at different administrative tiers. All of the country's government medical colleges have hospitals attached for teaching purpose, so also does the country's single medical university, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

During the 1990s a class of healthcare clinics offering some hospital services began to emerge. These in-patient clinics are described by various names: medical centre, nursing home, hospital etc. These have some properties of a standard hospital, but these are of relatively small size, usually with 10-50 beds and usually do not have the full range of services offered in a standard hospital. Some of these clinics are of general type offering a spectrum of services relating to treatment and general surgery. But a few are specialised such as for eye treatment or for cardiovascular ailments. Such in-patient clinics are mostly located in major cities of the country such as at the six divisional headquarters, 64 district headquarters and 461 Upazila headquarters.

The vast majority of such private clinics and certainly the best ones are located in the capital city Dhaka; the number being disproportionately smaller compared to the population size. Two factors may relate to this situation - firstly, the services may be targeted at the upper middle class and secondly, the country being small in size, prospective clients for such hospitals can easily come to the capital in a matter of hours using private or rented motor vehicles. In Dhaka city the number of in-patient clinics at present will be about a couple of hundred, big and small.

Standard private hospitals are few mostly attached with private medical colleges of which there are over a dozen operating in the country. There are some fairly old private hospitals established during the British period. The Kumudini Hospital in Mirzapur near Dhaka is the country's most well known private hospital and one of the oldest. In recent years, wealthy people are seen to be in the venture of establishing private hospitals in memory of some loved ones but their number is very small; only a couple are perhaps worth mentioning. In addition community-based hospitals are now being established that are not strictly private, but are operated at non-governmental levels. Some very costly and modern private hospitals are in the process of being established in the private sector largely to stop the outflow of patients from the country to India or Singapore where they hope to receive better treatment.

By far the most prolific development in healthcare took place in the diagnostic sector. Up until early 1980s, diagnostic services available mostly were of routine type involving blood, urine and stool examination, some microbiological cultures, routine biochemical tests, X-rays etc. With the transition to free market economy, demand for a wide spectrum of diagnostic services increased considerably. Many clinics were established in the private sector with advanced diagnostic capabilities including imaging, ultra-sonography, and tests for hormones, immunological tests and many others. Many of these newer and sophisticated tests became services of great public demand. [Zia Uddin Ahmed]

See also medical diagnostic centre.