Community clinics are now serving 50 million rural people of the country, which is “indeed exemplary for other developing countries”, an eminent surgeon and public health professional said yesterday.
Prof Syed Modasser Ali, former adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and chairperson of Community Clinic Health Support Trust, Bangladesh, made the remark while inaugurating a symposium at a city hotel.
The three-day “2nd International Symposium on Community Health Workers (CHW)” has been organised by International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b).
Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Brac James P Grant School of Public Health and Save the Children have collaborated for the initiative.
Welcoming the participants, Prof Modasser -- considered a pioneer of community opthalmology, said community health workers have an outstanding history of providing vaccination, and essential health and family planning services in Bangladesh.
In his speech, Dr Iqbal Anwar, scientist and project director at icddr,b, said 71 percent of people who die each year across the globe lose their lives due to non-communicable diseases.
He further said community health workers have been successfully working in low- and middle-income countries on key areas -- including birth and death registration, vaccination, basic healthcare, education, and counselling services -- over the last hundred years.
“But the rapid rise of non-communicable diseases is a matter of concern, so public health experts should rethink how best these workers can be utilised in detection, screening and treatment of such diseases,” he added.
Among others, Unicef Senior Officer Dr Rory Nefdt; Health Systems Global Thematic Working Group on CHWs in Uganda Co-chairperson Dr David Musoke; icddr,b Executive Director Dr John Clemens and its Additional Director General Dr Nasima Sultana, also spoke on the first day.