Interview: Mousumi Islam
ENPBD newspaper: What is the state of the medical equipment sector in the country?
Mausumi Islam: I am still the first medical equipment manufacturer in the country. At the moment, as a domestic entrepreneur, I am producing almost all the machinery in the health sector except some sensitive products. I have done ICU patient monitor, cardiology patient monitor, pulse oximeter, ICU bed a long time ago. We are making many such critical medical equipments locally.
ENPBD newspaper: Can you sell these products in the country?
Mausumi Islam: As a domestic industry, the products we are producing at the moment, there is no specific policy for the use of these products in the country. Now it needs to be fixed. It absolutely demands time. The reason is that every year 6 percent of the people have to go to the health service to fall victim to poverty. The kind of bills that are usually charged for hospital health care are beyond their reach.
ENPBD newspaper: What will be the benefit if it?
Mausumi Islam: The equipment we are making is not going to be spread everywhere due to lack of policy. It is not possible to reduce the cost of health care. This is mainly due to the complexity of the purchase. If the policy is amended, I will be able to provide ICU monitor, oximeter or cardio monitor, X-ray, ultrasonogram machine at half price. We have already had a successful trial with an X-ray machine at the private level. I am getting response from the private sector, but I cannot go to the government.
ENPBD newspaper: What is the quality of these products?
Seasonal Islam: We have achieved international standards. If you want to make a device, you have to get a certificate by fulfilling all the international parameters. We have succeeded in fulfilling all the conditions. The final certificate has been given after examination. There is no interference. There is no question about quality. If China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, neighboring India can move forward, why can’t we?
ENPBD newspaper: How is the value determined?
Seasonal Islam: Our products are 100% world class. If the standard is not maintained, an organization will not be ISO certified, CA will not be certified. The value is already determined by the CA. These are the European standards. The FDA is the American standard. We have got these certificates, we are producing.
ENPBD newspaper: What will be the benefit of the government?
Mausumi Islam: The government will buy it at an affordable price. Will get VAT directly. If you buy a machine from abroad at a higher price and it breaks down, you have to work hard to get its service. And you will easily get after sales service of locally produced instruments. Our quality, price and after service are all available at hand. If cricket can recognize Bangladesh, why can’t we have medical equipment?
ENPBD newspaper: How much are you able to meet the demand?
Mausumi Islam: We alone can meet at least 30 percent of the current demand in Bangladesh. There is no need to import. So when we have been able to organize such a big event, the government’s policy is lagging behind. The current policy is import dependent.
ENPBD newspaper: What can be done to take this sector forward?
Mausumi Islam: A portion of the excess liquidity that the bank now has can provide investment opportunities on easy terms in potential sectors. I think Bangladesh Bank can take action. This will develop the domestic industry, the economy will be strong. There are good investment opportunities now. I think our young entrepreneurs can be harnessed here. Then there will be employment, production of medical equipment at low cost will increase, domestic market will be dynamic.
ENPBD newspaper: What are you exporting to America?
Mausumi Islam: We are working to enter the American market well. Our products are being exported there, there will be more. I will export patient monitors, pulse oximeter monitors, ICU beds. In the meantime, I have exported surgical gloves, PPE surgical masks and several other items. We will export more sensitive equipment in the future.
Mausumi Islam, President of the Association of Grassroots Women Entrepreneurs Bangladesh and Managing Director of Promixco Group, a leading medical equipment manufacturer, spoke to ENPBD newspaper online portal about the state of the country’s medical equipment sector, why manufactured equipment is not being sold in the country, and what the export market is like. Interviewed by Md Aminul Islam Amin.