Don't hand over health service to private sector | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 23, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 23, 2008

Don't hand over health service to private sector

Speakers urge govt at roundtable

Urging the government not to make health service a commercial commodity by handing over its health sector to private sector, the speakers at a roundtable yesterday made a series of recommendations to include them in the proposed national health policy (NHP).
The roundtable titled 'What we expect in national health policy' was organised by the National Health Right Movement Committee (NHRMC) with the support of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at the Cirdap auditorium in the city.
The speakers said the government must strengthen the local governments to implement the NHP while it (the government) should ensure strict enforcement of the policy by monitoring the activities of the local governments after decentralising their power.
Presenting the keynote paper at the roundtable, Sardar Arif Uddin, theme leader of ActionAid Bangladesh, said the NHP must have the option of addressing health hazards caused by climate change, as the people of Bangladesh are vulnerable to frequent natural calamities.
He said problems of the people living in urban areas and those living in rural areas including char, haor and coastal areas are not the same, and so the health policy should contain different measures to address their problems.
Similarly, problems of people of different ages are not the same, and there exist traditional misconceptions regarding reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases, said the speakers, adding there should be a clear instruction in NHP restricting alluring advertisements regarding solution of health problems in electronic and print medias.
They said doctors charge fees at their will during private practice as the government does not fix their fees, and similarly private clinics and hospitals virtually have no accountability.
There should be health audit like financial audit to find out irregularities in this sector, they said alleging no doctor has ever been convicted for the death of his/her patients due to negligence of his/her duty.
The speakers said health issues of elderly people, addicted persons and the handicapped are not stressed equally in the proposed NHP which is available in the web site to seek public opinion.
They said in the advertisement of a happy family, people see two children with their parents but their grand parents are not seen there.
So children may think that elderly people should not be accepted in a happy family, they said, adding, the NHP must restrict such advertisements which make a certain segment of the society insecured.
Dr Laila Anjuman Banu of Mahila Parishad said 30 percent of the total population are adolescent but they are not aware of reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases and they form a wrong conception about them leading to increase of maternal death.
She demanded of the government to incorporate these topics into the textbooks at secondary and higher secondary levels.
The speakers said the drug addicts have the right to be rehabilitated and street children have the right to access to government health service.
So the NHP should have clear direction in this regard, they added.
With Professor Dr Rashid-e-Mahbub, president of NHRMC, in the chair, the roundtable was addressed by Justice Mohammad Golam Rabbani as chief guest.
It was moderated by Dr Nitai Kanti Das, member-secretary of NHRMC.

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