Neither government nor private hospitals show interest in providing treatment to patients whose sicknesses have reached an incurable stage; rather, the hospitals prefer patients who need expensive treatment, like surgery and dialysis, a senior physician observed yesterday.
Prof Nezamuddin Ahmed, chairman of palliative medicine department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), made the remarks while speaking at a roundtable at the capital's CA Bhaban.
The discussion on “Creating awareness on palliative care” was organised by Bangla daily Prothom Alo and AYAT Education, a non-government organisation, working on health issues.
Prof Nezamuddin said treatment and humane care are needed simultaneously for severely ill people, and palliative care -- a specialised medical care for terminally ill patients -- is the right solution in this regard.
“Such 'death-denying' mindset has to be changed through extending palliative care services. We have to engage youths in this sector to bring the change,” he added.
He also demanded that the government establish a palliative care institute to flourish this sector.
Prof Moarraf Hossen, director of National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital, said approximately 80 percent cancer patients begin their treatment when it reaches the last stage.
“We can help these patients to get a relief from sufferings, if they are given palliative care properly,” he added.
Former finance minister AMA Muhith said the society and the state has a responsibility to do something for the people who are going to die soon. He also assured to request the government to allocate a certain amount of the national budget for the palliative care sector.
Abdul Quayum, associate editor of Prothom Alo; AHM Enayet Hossain, additional director general of the Directorate General of Health Services; and Nusrat Aman, chief patron of AYAT Education; among others, spoke at the roundtable.