Connecting health centres and hospitals will solve the major problems of the country's health sector, former Health and Family Welfare minister Dr AFM Ruhal Haque said on Saturday.
He said, "If we connect the health centres, sub-centres in upazilas and unions to district hospitals, the majority of our health service-related problems can be solved."
The former minister made the remarks at a webinar titled "Searching for Ways Forward for Bangladesh in the Time of Pandemic: Public Health Sector in Bangladesh." It was organised by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme for the release of a policy brief on public health.
Ruhal Haque said, "In the upazilas we do not have enough doctors, in the district hospitals we lack the necessary instruments and in the sub-centres there is no doctor most of the time. If we join all these health centres, community clinics and hospitals then we will be able to provide medical services to people effectively."
Quoting a statistic, the former health minister said, "Our health sector is mostly – 72% – dependent on the private sector. Although in the public sector we have good infrastructure, we are still far behind. Most of our problems come from a lack of doctors."
Calling for a change in the recruitment system through BCS examinations, he said, "This system is causing trouble in the core level of medical hospitals. We have to think about reshaping this recruiting system."
Dr Ruhal Haque called on the government to consider making improvements in upazila level hospitals. He also asked to initiate a double or triple shift system for doctors to improve the quality of services.
Hosted by Executive Director of CGS Zillur Rahman the webinar was also attended by Dr M Mushtuq Husain, former principal scientific officer, IEDCR and Dr Manjur A Chowdhury, entomologist and chairman of CGS.
Dr Muhammad Abdus Sabur was the keynote speaker. He talked about poor coordination among relevant stakeholders and the governance problems in the health sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also advocated for increasing the budget and strengthening the management capacity of this sector.
Dr Mushtuq expressed his concern saying a new pandemic might come at any time due to excessive interactions between humans and wildlife. He suggested public health institutions be focused on more by establishing more research and training facilities with the necessary equipment.
Dr Manjur said there is no law or regulation based on which a patient can pursue legal action if they feel they did not get proper medical services.
Speakers at the webinar also pointed out the administrative and management incapacity in the health sector and encouraged that the cadre system and private sector regulations be reshaped