Despite notable improvements in the health sector in the past decade, Bangladesh still has one of the lowest rates of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Service Coverage Index (SCI) in South-East Asia, speakers said at an event today.
Addressing a plenary session titled "Accelerating progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Bangladesh" organised by the Institute of Health Economics (IHE), University of Dhaka, experts Dr Atonu Rabbani and Dr Suzana Karim made the observations.
"How will accountability come if there is no law on medical negligence?" Barrister Rashana Imam stated as one of the invited panel discussants.
"Right to health is right to life. The state should ensure proper no negligence in health," she said, adding, "Public interest litigation (PIL) can make a difference and that should be more practised in our country."
Starting with a score of 45 in 2015, as of 2021 Bangladesh has only improved seven points to 52. This rate of increase is considered insufficient in order to achieve health goals by 2030, despite performing well in areas such as vaccinations, family planning, tuberculosis drug coverage and health security.
Others spoke about administrative anomalies prevalent in the system and how bureaucratic issues cause delays in implementation. Rawnaq Jahan said "We need to identify the obstacles in this issue, because without if we can remove the obstacles then the path towards success will be achieved."
Some of the recommendations presented were establishing a strong primary healthcare system, improved healthcare coordination, prioritisation of General Practitioners, and the decentralisation of healthcare to the district level.
Comprehensive regulation of the private sector in addition to empowering civil society organisations for transparency and accountability were also pushed as crucial measures to enhance efficiency and equity with the system