The Government of Bangladesh and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly promote public-private partnership (PPP) projects in the country's healthcare sector.
The tripartite MoU was signed by Professor Abul Kalam Azad, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services; Md Abul Bashar, director general of the Bangladesh PPP Authority, and Manmohan Parkash, ADB's country director for Bangladesh.
The secretary of the Health Services Division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Md Ashadul Islam, and the chief executive officer (secretary) of the PPP Authority, Md Alkama Siddiqui, were present at the signing ceremony.
Speakers at the programme said Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in recent years in improving public health and achieving health coverage. Supported by sustained policy priority, the progress has been characterised by high immunisation, reduced infant and maternal mortality, and lower fertility rates.
However, a second generation of innovations and increased investment in the sector is needed to maintain the successful track record and face the remaining challenges. One of the core challenges is non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart attacks, chronic respiratory diseases, kidney diseases and diabetes. PPPs can provide affordable and quality services to prevent and manage these diseases, and be an alternative to public sector spending to build and operate hospitals and health education facilities.
"The health sector of Bangladesh has immense potential to bring in private sector participation through PPPs. Private participation within the service delivery framework of the government can open the doors to greater private sector efficiencies and technology to complement the public sector effort,'' said Md Ashadul Islam.
Md Alkama Siddiqui said, "PPPs can introduce positive qualitative changes to health systems, and the tripartite MoU may create the right framework to explore PPP possibilities and implement projects in the health sector."
Under the MoU, the office of PPP, the ADB will work with other partners to identify, prepare, and implement projects under PPP arrangements, including priority areas such as diagnostics and dialysis services.
The ADB will provide holistic support through the Asia Pacific Project Preparation Facility which can provide integrated support for capacity building, development of standardised templates for procurement and contracting, creation of a potential healthcare project's pipeline and transaction advisory services.
Health Service Division expects that the partnership of the Directorate General of Health Services with the ADB and PPP authority will create a momentum in the health ecosystem. This, in turn, will bring in new investment, efficiency and innovation from the private sector for poroviding universal health coverage to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.