Deaths after circumcision: Health minister vows 'zero tolerance' for medical negligence, irregularities

Sen says the prime minister has ordered stringent action against those responsible for the recent deaths of two children during circumcision procedures

Published : 25 Feb 2024, 09:12 AM
Updated : 25 Feb 2024, 09:12 AM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for a 'zero tolerance' policy to deal with those responsible for the recent deaths of two children during circumcision procedures, according to Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen.

The minister addressed the issue during a media briefing at the Secretariat on Sunday.

"I met with the prime minister [on Thursday] and she emphasised the need for zero tolerance in such cases. She instructed me to take whatever action is deemed necessary. She was very clear about the seriousness of the matter."

The deaths of two children following circumcision procedures within a span of two months has caused a stir in the country. On Jan 20, 10-year-old Ahnaf Tahmin Ayham died after undergoing circumcision at the JS Diagnostic Center in Malibagh's Chowdhury Para.

Previously, on Dec 31, another child, Ayan Ahmed, failed to regain consciousness after receiving anesthesia for circumcision at United Medical College Hospital in Satarkul. Ayan was placed on life support and later died on Jan 7 at United Hospital in Gulshan.

In the wake of their deaths, the Directorate General of Health Services has issued 10 directives aimed at all private hospitals and clinics across the country to prevent such incidents in the future.

One of these directives includes the requirement for hospitals and clinics to have a registered physician on hand as an assistant surgeon for any surgical procedure.

"Several incidents have recently occurred and after reviewing these, we discussed ways to restore a healthy environment within the health sector. The Directorate General of Health Services has set out the essential criteria guidelines for operating clinics," said Sen.

"We've taken a few days to observe the situation. I will be personally overseeing the implementation of these guidelines."

Sen also urged medical professionals to ensure the adequacy of facilities and conditions before performing surgeries.

"I've personally conducted many surgeries and I'm well aware of the requirements and standards necessary for operations. Procedures must not proceed without meeting these criteria under any circumstances."

On addressing misconduct, the minister referred to the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) as the highest authority for investigation and action.

"I have asked the BMDC to investigate the recent incidents involving anesthesia and circumcision and endoscopy, and to take appropriate action against anyone found responsible. My commitment is to safeguard both the medical professionals and the patients."