Ensure quality healthcare for all: Speakers

As the South-East Asia region has become a disease burden area, physicians and the rights activists at a discussion called for taking necessary steps for ensuring universal health coverage in the country. It is necessary for ensuring access to quality health services for all the people, activists said, addressing their rights to health. Reminding the state of its promises, speakers asked the state to be sincere in keeping the promises. They made the comments while addressing a discussion on the concepts of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), organized by Public Health Foundation, Bangladesh (phf,bd), at the National Press Club. The event was held marking the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) day on Thursday.

They also demanded increased allocation in the health sector. Hafiza Arzuman, Professor of Public Health at the Pundra University of Science and Technology, Bogura in her keynote speech, mentioned that 25 percent of the world’s population live in the South-East Asia, while 30 percent of the disease burden is from this region. Some 67 percent of the healthcare costs are paid out of pocket, which is one of the highest in the world. This is an ominous sign for the health system of this country.

Other speakers called upon the relevant sectors to play their due roles for ensuring the UHC. They termed the multi-sectoral collaboration as one of the bedrocks of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Bangladesh can successfully overcome the health and nutrition disparities among its population through incorporating multi-sectorial actions in health and nutrition, they observed.

Professor Muzaherul Huq, former Adviser, South East Asia Regional Organization of the World Health Organization, and the founder of the phf, moderated the discussion, while Chairperson of phf Professor Sharmeen Yasmeen, presided over it. Other discussants at the meeting were Jennifer Crum, Country Representative, FHI 360, Bangladesh; Dr. Mushtuq Husain, Adviser, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research; Farida Akhtar, Executive Director, UBINIG; Shammy Wadud, President, UNYSAB; and Dr. Mahedi Hasan Wali, Vice-President, External Affairs, IFMSA-Bangladesh.