a year ago

Universal health coverage, joint forces need to ensure quality healthcare services

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Health sector specialists have urged the government to introduce universal health coverage as people are struggling to afford the healthcare service expenditure in the country.

They suggested the government enact related laws to support the introduction of universal health coverage for its nationals in order to ensure the right to healthcare service at a minimum cost.

They said this at a learning event titled ‘Integrated Community Development for Better Health: Perspectives from Bangladesh’ organised by University Research Co., LLC (URC), an international organisation based in the US, held at a city hotel.

Public, private, and non-governmental (NGO) health care providers must join forces to collaboratively improve the quality of health care services and build resilient health systems, discussants added.

The event provided an opportunity for the country’s government officials, the international donor community – including the United States Agency for International for Development (USAID) – and representatives from Bangladesh’s NGO and the university community.

They discussed how to best ensure the delivery of high-quality care at all levels of the healthcare system in Bangladesh and beyond.

The dialogue featured keynote remarks from Prof Ainun Nishat, Former Vice Chancellor, of BRAC University, USAID Mission Director Kathryn Stevens; and Dr. Jahir Uddin Ahmed, Director of Board, Social Marketing Company (SMC).

Dr. Jahir Uddin Ahmed said that “Bangladesh needs universal health coverage. It is needed because poor people in the country cannot afford the healthcare service expenditure.” 

He suggested the government enact a law to support introducing universal health coverage to this effect.

Prof Ainun Nishat criticised the role precisely for working selectively in the projected area and taking credit for the whole area. He suggested elaborating on the area of providing services to all in an area. 

The whole world has started witnessing changing weather, the climate change badly affecting the coastal belt, Dhaka remains among the world's worst polluted cities, and these are ultimately linked to the people’s health.

Salinity has started engulfing coastal Bangladesh. Hypertension is rising among people which certainly affects the reproductive health of women in the coastal region, miscarriage happens often.   

Two-panel discussions featured voices of individuals with experience designing, implementing, and sustaining health systems that are responsive to the needs and preferences of the communities where they work.

Panellists discussed how incorporating strong community actions and voices into health systems strengthens societal partnerships, builds capacity in communities, and promotes trust and shared accountability for health system performance.

Toslim Uddin Khan, Managing Director and CEO, Social Marketing Company (SMC), said community engagement is mandatory to ensure the health service.

Community health clinics in rural Bangladesh have been making a significant contribution in extending healthcare service while community radio in areas like the northern Kurigram district helps disseminate health service information, participants added.

The event highlighted promising interventions and good practices in health service delivery at the community level.

Bangladesh has been a leader in public health research and implementation on a large scale for low-cost technologies provided at the community level.

Conference moderator, Maureen Shauket, URC Chief Operating Officer, said that “New thinking and learning from the experiences of others is key to improving the quality of care and health outcomes in the communities where we work.”

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