Make healthcare affordable for all

Speakers urge govt at roundtable

Prevalence of non-communicable diseases, pollution caused by urbanisation, and the impacts of climate change are the major barriers to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), said speakers at a roundtable yesterday.

They urged the government to give more focus on health sector and sought donor organisations' help to address the issues so that UHC, one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to ensure quality healthcare for all without financial hardships, can be achieved by 2030.

They also urged the doctors, private clinics and diagnostic centres' authorities and other medical service providers not to charge extra fees, and to maintain more honesty and transparency in their professions.

The remarks were made at the roundtable organised by Bangla daily Prothom Alo in association with USAID, James P Grant School of Public Health of Brac University, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, at the newspaper's office in the capital.

Hossain Zillur Rahman, executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre, said people were being affected by different types of diseases due to negative impacts of climate change and pollution.

Non-communicable diseases were other major threats to public health, said Hossain, also an adviser to a former caretaker government.

“We need to address the issues and increase the use of technology to enhance healthcare services for all people,” he said.

M Iqbal Arslan, president of Swadhinata Chikitshak Parishad, alleged many doctors in the county prescribe excessive medication and tests to their patients thinking about profit, and many medicine manufacturers, private clinics, and diagnostic centres charge high fees.

These extra costs make the people suffer; so it should be avoided to achieve UHC, he added.

Speaking as the chief guest, Health Minister Mohammad Nasim said, “UHC is important for healthcare sector of the country, but it is difficult to achieve due to a shortage of resources.

“We need more budgetary allocation in this sector for infrastructural development and recruitin   g more doctors, nurses and technicians,” he added.

Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman and Associate Editor Abdul Quayum; Abul Kalam Azad, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services; Miranda Beckman, a deputy director of USAID Bangladesh; Mohammad Shah Alamgir, director general of Press Institute of Bangladesh; Ruhul Amin, director of the Directorate General of Drug Administration; Hossain Ishrath Adib, head of education of School of Public Health at Brac University; and Mahmud Hasan, former president of Bangladesh Medical Association, spoke.


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