Dr Qazi Shafiqul Halim has recently been promoted as associate professor at the National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine. Dr Md Iqbal Kabir headed the 'fit list' of qualified candidates. However, the concerned health ministry committee did not give him a promotion.
Iqbal says he has no ties with any political party. Shafiqul, on the other hand, says he was the president of Bangladesh Chhatra League's Rangpur Medical College unit. At present, he is the publication secretary of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA).
Rumours have it that Iqbal was deprived of the promotion because Shafiqul was promoted on political considerations. Before the Eid-ul Azha holidays, over 500 physicians were promoted to the rank of associate professor from assistant professor.
Professor Abul Kalam Azad, director general of the health directorate, said they published the list of promoted physicians before Eid to add to the festivity.
However, a comparsion between the 'fit list' and the list of promoted physicians show around 200 have been deprived and the authorities did not consider them.
This trend of not giving qualified people the promotions they deserve is proof of the unprecedented corruption prevailing in the health sector, said Professor Rashid-e-Mahbub, a former pro-vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and a former secretary general of BMA.
This was observed during the rule of BNP, and the AL regime is not free of this malpractice either, he observed.
Health secretary Serajul Huq Khan, president of the committee for promotion-related issues, claimed that the decisions were based on documents at their disposal.
"Someone who has not been promoted is prone to make allegations," he said.
Officials at the health directorate said the 'fit list' is prepared on considerations of seniority, experience and publication. As per the 'fit list', Md Iqbal Kabir joined Bnagladesh Civil Service in 1995 as a cadre of the 17th batch. He has five papers published in international journals and three in local ones.
Qazi Shafiqul Halim, on the other hand, joined the Bangladesh Civil Service in 2001. He has only one paper published in an international journal and three in local ones.
Health directorate documnets say Shafiqul has a PhD, but our investigations say he has never done it. Although he has been made an associate professor of epidemiology, he has no post-graduation degree on this.
Iqbal Kabir, on the other hand, has both post graduation and PhD degrees in epidemiology. However, he refused to comment on the issue. He only said that many of his batch mates became professors long ago.
In the 'fit list' of surgery, there were 80 names, but only 36 were promoted. The first three on the list were deprived of promotion.
In the 'fit list' of neurosurgery, there were 12 names while six among them got promoted. The third physician in the list, who is an officer of the 13th BCS, did not get a promotion, but someone who was 13th in the list, was promoted despite being an officer of the 21st BCS.
There are allegations of such anomalies in almost all the departments, including psychiatry, chest disease and gyaenocology.
Deprived doctors have apprehended that such trends of irregularities will not stop in the future.
Those who were promoted to the rank of associate professor with low quality will be again promoted to professors.
Physician Nurjahan Begum, who has recently retired, was not even promoted to associate professor, let alone professor.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Nurjahan said, "I met all the prerequisites, including publications. I was deprived of promotion on political grounds."
Professor Mahbub-e-Elahi said qualified physicians become frustrated if they are not duly promoted. They lose enthusiasm and are ultimately deprived of services, he pointed out.