Bangladesh's health sector needs increased budget, automation

| Updated: July 04, 2021 13:31:16

Bangladesh's health sector needs increased budget, automation

Automation, strong monitoring, a bigger budget, and its proper use are vital for the healthcare sector, which is one of the key areas for quality economic growth.

Evidence-based decision-making, public-private partnership, and enhancing research and development are also imperative to this end.

This was observed during a webinar styled 'Is Bangladesh on Track to Achieving the SDG Targets-a Health Systems Perspective' on Wednesday.

Innovision Consulting Private Limited in association with The Financial Express and the economics department of North South University (NSU) hosted the event where Simprints Technology was the thematic partner of the webinar.

Prof Dr Kaosar Afsana of James P Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University presented a keynote at the discussion moderated by Innovision Consulting Managing Director Md Rubaiyath Sarwar.

NSU Economics Professor Dr Gour Gobinda Goswami, Dhaka University Economics Professor Dr Rumana Huque, Simprints Technology Ltd Bangladesh Country Director Md Asad-Ur-Rahman Nile, and ICDDR,B emeritus scientist Dr Firdausi Qadri joined as panel discussants.

NSU health and life sciences Professor Dr Hasan Mahmud Reza, Child Health Research Foundation Bangladesh Director Dr Senjuti Saha, and Vice-Chairperson, Public Health Foundation, Bangladesh Dr Taufique Joardar also joined.

Presenting her keynote, Dr Afsana highlighted Bangladesh's achievement in terms of child immunisation and family planning years ago that was made possible for cooperation between government and non-governmental organisations.

The success brought forward some lessons that political commitment, investment, public-private partnership, and evidence-based decision-making are key to achieving desired goals in the healthcare sector, she said.

"Systematic change along with investment, quality of care and accountability are critical to improve the health system in the country."

Collaboration between research and policy is crucial, Dr Afsana pointed out.

"In a bid to progress towards health-related SDG targets, there is a need for better coordination among stakeholders from the government, the private sector, and communities," she said.

Dr Goswami laid emphasis on quality economic growth to positively impact the healthcare sector in addition to other indicators of better living.

"Economic growth needs to be qualitative in terms of health, environment, and society," he said.

Mr Nile focused on the importance of technology in healthcare.

He said health information systems are not properly used and analysed by healthcare industry actors.

He recommended using data analytics and biometrics for streamlining the processes and monitoring.

According to Dr Huque, Bangladesh has achieved noteworthy success in child immunisation, but vaccination of adults for many communicable diseases is still lagging behind.

Vaccination of Covid-19 and allied health services surfaced the limitations of the country, she said.

Dr Huque, also executive director of ARK Foundation, also laid emphasis on the increased stake of the healthcare sector in the national budget implementation.

Dr Joardar said stronger regulation of the private service is very crucial to the healthcare sector.

He put stress on creating better policies and regulations for private caregivers and incentivising them to encourage innovation, ensure quality and establish equity in the sector.

Responding to questions from participants, Dr Joarder, also vice-chairperson of the Public Health Foundation, recognised the need for public health professionals in decision-making positions.

Dr Qadri spoke about Bangladesh's uniqueness in the health sector as it could build movements and public-health communities for immunisation, family planning, child and maternal health at the grassroots level.

Dr Reza emphasised the regulations of antibiotics and highlighted that the pharmacist community is crucial to the betterment of the healthcare sector.

Dr Saha suggested that all stakeholders and actors of the healthcare industry work together.

"It's imperative to have data-driven policies in the healthcare system, then it's important for all levels of participants to know about the policies and work in coordination," she asserted.

The event was part of an integrated dialogue campaign styled 'The Bangladesh Miracle-Celebrating 50 Years of Development Progress of Bangladesh' hosted by Innovision Consulting.

Explaining the rationale of the event, Mr Sarwar said Bangladesh Miracle series focused on promoting the country's achievement in different sectors in the past five decades since independence.

"If we can explain the causes behind this success," he said, "we may use them to address different problems."

Partner organisations of the event included The Financial Express, NSU economics department, NextGenEdu, MPower, CARE, ICCO, GAIN, WaterAid, Simprints, BIID, Pathao, Sarabangla, Colors FM, Windmill Advertising, Young Economists' Forum, and Printagraphy.

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