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Dengue kit, dialysis filter get cheaper, but medical equipment costs go up

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The government has proposed concessions on importing dengue testing kits amid an ongoing outbreak of the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

Finance Minister AH Mahmood Ali made the proposal in his budget speech for the 2024-25 fiscal year in parliament on Thursday, reports

In 2023, Bangladesh recorded 321,179 hospitalisations and 1,705 deaths from the viral disease and the outbreak has continued this year.

Rising temperatures, along with a lack of effective measures to kill the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the known carrier of the virus, are seen as the reasons behind the deadliest outbreak last year.

Experts say dengue may affect Bangladesh throughout the year from now on, not just in monsoon, if the authorities do not move to prevent the disease.

Finance Minister Ali also proposed reducing the import duty from 10 per cent to 1 per cent on the import of these two prod dialysis filters and circuits, two essential components used in the treatment of kidney patients.

The budget, however, proposed a “slight” reduction of concession for referral hospitals to import medical equipment, which they enjoyed for “quite a long period”.

As part of the efforts to rationalise tax expenditure, Mahmood Ali proposed imposing 10 per cent customs duty on the import of medical equipment and supplies by referral hospitals.

Overall, the minister proposed a Tk 414.08 billion allocation for the health sector, up from the current year’s Tk 380.51 billion.

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