April 17, 2024, 12:32 am

Diplomatic correspondent

2023-09-22 17:58:00 BdST

PM Hasina seeks int'l support in five key areas of healthcare

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday identified five areas where international partners can extend their support to improve the country's universal health system.

She made the suggestions while speaking at the UNGA High-level Meeting on “Universal Health Coverage (UHC)” at the UN Headquarters here.

The first area she mentioned is related to sustaining development assistance for children, mothers, and adolescents’ health and addressing migrants’ health and the climate-health nexus.

Her second suggestion was to share expertise in developing an inter-operable, data-driven Health Information System with Health ID for all.

She also sought support to help develop a robust health insurance scheme suited to Bangladesh context.

The PM's fourth plea was to enhance health sector investments, including in fast-growing health-tech start-ups.

In her fifth proposal she called for compliance with TRIP obligations on patent disclosure and technology transfer for protecting public health.

“Our generation can change history by promoting UHC. Let us all join hands to make that possible,” she said.

PM Hasina said that Universal Health Coverage is one of the most ambitious yet achievable SDG targets.

In Bangladesh, she said, the government has a constitutional obligation to ensure healthcare access to all.

“We have established a nationwide healthcare system, from community clinics to specialised medical hospitals. We work closely with non-government partners at the grassroots," she noted.

She mentioned that the growing health sector investments have paid dividends. The government has reduced maternal mortality to 163 per one hundred thousand live births. Neonatal mortality has decreased to 15 and under-five mortality to 28 per thousand live births.

Hasina also informed that Bangladesh has been recognised as one of the world’s best at managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are now working on high alert to combat dengue,” she added.

She said that the government is introducing advanced treatments for cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.

“Bangladesh has set standards for providing medical care in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations,” she said.

Saying that government’s policies and interventions on mental health and neurological disorders are widely appreciated, she mentioned it provides reproductive health services in a culturally sensitive manner.

She said the government is promoting a "One Health Approach" to prepare against Anti-Microbial Resistance.

“We are raising awareness about nutrition, vision impairment, and drowning," she said.

The prime minister said that Bangladesh's public health facilities provide services at zero or minimum costs, covering nearly 80 percent of the population.

“I strongly believe that no one should suffer from out-of-pocket health expenses. Our focus remains on improving their service quality with a trained workforce," said the PM.

She said, her government's next target is to develop a viable financing model for reimbursing costs.

“In Bangladesh, we meet 98 percent of our pharmaceutical needs through domestic production," she said.

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