Thakurgaon Chest Disease Clinic woefully equipped to offer relief

There is little to distinguish the Chest Disease Clinic (CDC) in Thakurgaon from any other since their only X-ray machine went out of order quite some time back.

Even the only doctor available is on deputation from Sadar Hospital, having been assigned to fill in after the CDC lost its last doctor.

Dr Shuvendu Kumar Debnath, who is now in overall charge of the hospital, informed that presently patients have to go all the way to the town to the Brac office to get an X-ray done.

However, the CDC does have a GeneXpert machine, a specialised machine for testing tuberculosis (TB), Dr Debnath said. A patient’s cough and mucus samples are tested here. But there is no facility for any pathological test.

According to the hospital’s own statistics, the number of TB patients is relatively higher in the district. A total of 66 out of 4,757 patients who visited the hospital in the first eight months of the year have been diagnosed with TB.

Civil Surgeon Dr Anwarul Islam acknowledged the pressure on Dr Debnath.

“Two posts for medical officer and consultant are vacant now. There’re hundreds of TB sufferers spread throughout the villages, but there’s no field worker to collect data about them. The clinic has no security guard either, which poses a threat to security at night. The posts assistant nurse and pharmacist are also unfilled,” the civil surgeon lamented.

The clinic was established in 1963-64. In 2007, a proposal was sent to the Ministry of Health to transform it into a 31-bed specialised hospital but the proposal has found no headway.

Dr Debnath said the clinic was built on a 3.39-acre site, but almost one-thirds of the land has been grabbed. Given all this, there would seem to be little respite that TB sufferers in Thakurgaon can look forward to anytime soon.