Nirmal Barman

2018-05-27 13:41:37 BdST

Bangladesh ahead of India, Pakistan in healthcare access


A new study has ranked Bangladesh 133rd among 195 countries keeping ahead of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan in providing access to quality healthcare to citizens.

Bangladesh, however, fell behind Sri Lanka and China in this area, according to the Healthcare Access and Quality Index published by leading British medical journal The Lancet on Wednesday.

The study revealed that Bangladesh has seen improvement in healthcare access and quality since 1990, with its Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) index increasing from 17.8 in 1990 to 47.6 in 2016.

The average HAQ index in South Asian countries is 40.4 in 2016 while it was 23.8 in 1990.

Improvement rate of Bangladesh is better than its South Asian neighbours. India’s HAQ index was 24.7 in 1990 and 41.2 in 2016 while Pakistan’s was 26.8 in 1990 and 37.6 in 2016.

Despite the gains, Bangladesh continues to lag behind China (48) and Sri Lanka (71), said the report.

Myanmar ranked 143rd, India 145th, Nepal 149th, Pakistan 155th and Afghanistan 191st.

According to the study, Bangladesh performed poorly in tackling cases of skin cancer, testicular cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, uterine cancer, neonatal disorders, stroke, among others.

According to the Lancet study, the five countries providing the highest access to quality healthcare were Iceland (97.1 points), Norway (96.6), the Netherlands (96.1), Luxembourg (96.0), and Finland and Australia (each with 95.9).

The countries with the lowest scores were the Central African Republic (18.6), Somalia (19.0), Guinea-Bissau (23.4), Chad (25.4), and Afghanistan (25.9).

The study pointed out that subnational inequalities were particularly pronounced in countries such as China and India, although high-income countries, including England and the US, also saw considerable local gaps in performance.

In 2016, the global average healthcare access and quality score was 54.4, increasing from 42.4 points in 2000.

“These results emphasise the urgent need to improve both access to and quality of healthcare across service areas and for all populations; otherwise, health systems could face widening gaps between the health services they provide and the disease burden experienced by local communities,” it stated.

The study used an index to measure the quality and accessibility of healthcare, based on 32 causes of death, which should have been preventable with effective medical care.

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