Covid-19 Pandemic: Make policies for collective fight
Stressing on the need for specific instructions for joint efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, eminent citizens have called upon the government to formulate policies to fight it collectively.
They also called for strengthening the public health infrastructure and ensuring vaccine access for all.
The eminent citizens said this at a virtual dialogue on "Civil Society and Community-based Initiative to Address the Pandemic" organised by the Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, and The Hunger Project yesterday.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, convener of Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, and distinguished fellow at Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said there is no alternative to civil society and community-based initiatives to tackle Covid-19.
He also stated that there is a lack of coordination between efforts by the government and non-government initiatives.
Dr Debapriya said the government has not provided specific instructions for a collective effort to tackle the pandemic and suggested outlining policies in this regard.
Professor Rounaq Jahan, distinguished fellow at CPD, highlighted the lack of coordination at the local level.
She also called for increased awareness and recommended collective and coordinated efforts of public and private sectors.
Professor Rehman Sobhan, chairman, CPD, said there should be a collective effort of the civil society and public organisations at the upazila level and an example needs to be set.
He further said lessons from this example should be used to implement collective efforts across the country.
Lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha said it will be difficult to deal with the pandemic without the help of civil society and community-based initiatives and also acknowledges the lack of guidelines to address this issue.
Pointing out misconceptions among people about Covid-19, lawmaker Mohammad Shahiduzzaman said although there are initiatives taken by the public and private sectors, still lot more things need to be done to increase awareness.
Anir Chowdhury, policy advisor of the Aspire to Innovate (A2I) Programme, stressed on voluntary initiatives at the local level to motivate people to follow health guidelines.
In his keynotepresentation, Dr Badiul Alam Majumnder, country director of The Hunger Project, said the Coronavirus Resilient Villages (CRV) initiative implemented last year in about 1,200 villages across Bangladesh brought promising results.
It is considered by experts as the most appropriate approach for containing the spread of Covid-19 infection in Bangladesh, he said.
Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, convener, Bangladesh Health Watch (BSW), former vice-chairperson of Brac and adviser at James P Grant School of Public Health of BRAC University, chaired the session.
Dr Abu Jamil Faisel, public health expert, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Dr Lelin Chowdhury, public health expert and chairman, Health and Hope Hospital; Salima Sarwar, executive director, Association for Community Development (ACD), Rajshahi; Swapan Kumar Guha, executive director, Rupantar, Khulna; and Bazle Mustafa Razee, executive director, Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB), also spoke at the event.