Friday, 14 Aug 2020

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DGHS DG Azad quits amid severe criticism over Covid-19

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Health Desk-22 July, 2020: Amid severe criticism and scams related to Covid-19 tests, Prof Abul Kalam Azad has stepped down as the director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

He tendered his resignation letter to the public administration ministry on Tuesday, Abdul Mannan, secretary of Health Services Division, told media on Tuesday. 

Prof Azad had been the chief of the DGHS since September 2016.

In his resignation letter, he cited heath grounds as he has been suffering from chronic kidney disease for long, said a highly-placed source.

The resignation came amid a rift between the health ministry and the health directorate over signing a deal with Regent Hospital, which has been at the centre of the Covid-19 testing scam.

The DGHS signed an MoU with Regent in March, turning it into a dedicated Covid-19 hospital, in a ceremony attended by Health Minister Zahid Maleque and many high officials.

The DGHS was aware that the hospital's licence had expired six years ago.

On July 7, a Rab mobile court raided Regent Hospital's Uttara branch and sealed it off. The court said it found proof that the hospital issued several thousand fake Covid-19 test reports, which prompted the rift.

The branch was sealed off in connection with issuing fake Covid-19 test certificates and collecting money from patients. Later, the DGHS shut down the hospital's branches in Uttara and Mirpur.

Both the ministry and the DGHS refused to take the blame and tried to shift the blame to each other.

Amid widespread criticism, the DGHS on July 11 said it was the higher authorities at the health ministry who asked the directorate to sign the MoU.

This explanation enraged the health ministry, which issued a show-cause notice to the DG the next day, asking him to explain the comment in three working days.

The health minister on July 14 said he attended the MoU signing ceremony with Regent Hospital at the request of the DG.

Prof Azad submitted his response to the ministry within the deadline.

The DG submitted all documents related to his claims over MoU signing.

He made it clear in the explanation that Health Minister Zahid Maleque was not involved in the process.