The jailed Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia was admitted to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital again on Monday although BNP demanded that the government get her admitted to a specialised private hospital in Dhaka. This was her second admission to the university hospital since February 8, 2018, when she was jailed for five years in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Earlier on November 8, 2018, Khaleda was released from the hospital after a month and taken to the old Dhaka Central Jail as the lone prisoner there.
In a light-pink sari, the former prime minister was taken to a renovated cabin on the fifth floor of the hospital"s cabin block in a wheelchair by a group of jail guards. She was taken from the jail to the hospital at about 12:35pm in an escorted police car.
"We admitted her [Khaleda] to the hospital at about 12:45pm. The medical team set up for her treatment visited her at about 2:00pm and she narrated her problems. They prescribed her medicine and would keep her under continued follow-up," hospital director Brigadier General KM Mahbubul Hoque told a press conference.
He said that she could not walk without any support.
Mahbubul said that Khaleda complained pain in the joints of the limbs.
Khaleda is suffering from anorexia, cannot sleep well and her blood glucose level is about 14mmol/L in random sampling, he said.
"She was apparently fine as she was sitting while medical board was visiting her. She had no complexity," said the hospital director.
The hospital authorities on March 28 reconstituted a five-member committee with internal medicine chairman Zilan Miah Sarker as the head, following an application from the jail authorities on March 21.
The committee held a meeting Sunday morning.
Other members of the committee were rheumatology chairman Syed Atiqul Huq, cardiology professor Tanzim Parvin, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Badrunnesssa Ahmed and orthopaedic surgery specialist Chowdhury Iqbal Mahmud.
"Apart from the board, two more physicians Shamim [Ahmed of rheumatology] and [Muhammad Al] Mamun [of cardiology] will be assisting the team," said the hospital director.
He said that she was admitted to a cabin and security personnel were deployed at a nearby room alongside the deployment of police and Ansar members.
A police official, who was monitoring her security at the hospital, said that they deployed enough security on the fifth floor and at the entrance on the ground floor of the cabin block.
This was not the same cabin where she had been during her previous hospitalisation.
According to police officials, Khaleda"s previous cabin was in the roadside portion of the cabin building but new she was given the cabin in the inner portion considering her security.
They said that her cabin was expanded for her mobility inside the room while collapsible gate was also installed so that none could get into the cabin easily.
BNP has been pushing the government for long time to admit her to a specialised private hospital.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir along with party leaders came to the hospital to greet Khaleda on Monday.
He reiterated the demand.
Earlier on March 9, Khaleda declined to go to university hospital as she preferred United Hospital in Dhaka after her medical board visited her at the prison on February 28 and prescribed some medical tests for her and advised her hospitalisation for follow-up tests.
Asked whether she was taken to the hospital forcibly as she wanted to be admitted to United Hospital, Mahbubul said that the university hospital was a "super specialised hospital" and she spoke to the visiting physicians.
One of the physicians involved in Khaleda"s treatment told New Age that the medical board met Khaleda at her cabin but she refused to talk to them in absence of her personal physician Muhammad Al Mamun.
Both Mamun and Shamim were taken to the cabin and her treatment was started, said the physician.
Medical broad chief Abdul Jalil Chowdhury was changed due to his retirement while only two — Syed Atiqul Haq and Badrunnessa Ahmed — were from the previous medical board.
None expect Khaleda"s domestic help Fatema Begum and prison officials were allowed to reach Khaleda as police in addition to Battalion Ansar members were deployed both in uniform and plainclothes.
Asked for how many days Khaleda would stay at the hospital, the director said she would be staying there till she required treatment.
A group of plainclothes with jackets inscribed "DB" was seen guarding in front of the cabin block.
Ailing Khaleda appeared in the makeshift courtroom inside the jail in a wheelchair on September 5, 2018 and said she cannot appear before the court frequently as she was sick.
On March 5, 2019, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters that Khaleda would be taken to the hospital for medical check-up as per the decision of a medical board.
He announced the decision after as a BNP delegation led by Fakhrul met him requesting steps to ensure better treatment for Khaleda.
On March 27, Fakhrul alleged that a conspiracy was on to kill Khaleda in a planned manner and no medical treatment was being provided to the ailing former prime minister.
Fakhrul said that following a High Court directive, the medical board visited Khaleda on February 28 and recommended urgent blood tests but did not take any step for the laboratory tests at that time.
After repeated requests, the medical board on March 19 sent medical staff for collecting her blood for examination at the university hospital, he said, claiming that the medical board was yet to hold any meeting regarding the results of the blood tests and none of the jail authority and the board met Khaleda.