The prevalence of pandemic flu in Bangladesh is less than India thanks to the early steps taken, Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Shah Monir Hossain said yesterday.
"But increasing awareness among the people is still a big challenge," he said.
He was speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of a two-day workshop on Pandemic Influenza at a city hotel.
The Humanitarian Pandemic Preparedness (H2P) Project with the CORE Group, Save the Children and Care Bangladesh jointly organised the workshop with a view to providing updates on global, regional and national status of the current pandemic and issues related to future planning.
Experts from different countries talked on global epidemiology of pandemic flu and its trend, global perspective on pandemic flu mitigation and Bangladesh's experience with avian and swine flu.
Stressing the need for increased participation of the NGOs, the DG of DGHS said that the involvement of the NGOs in combating pandemic flu is less than their involvement in other issues.
Bangladesh experienced avian influenza in 2007 first and then the swine flu caused by H1N1 virus in 2009.
Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed and Dr M Mushtuq Hussain of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) described the responses of Bangladesh to pandemic.
Kelly Stevenson of Save the Children USA, Shahidul Alam of Bangladesh Medical Association, Dr Syed Umar Khyyam, joint secretary, WHO Public Health of the health ministry, Nick Southern of CARE Bangladesh and Dr Eric Starbuck also spoke the occasion.