Promises regarding the health sector development made by political parties in the last general election have remained unfulfilled even after three years, health advocates said on Saturday.
Those electoral commitments made before the national elections of 2018 have become even more relevant because of the pandemic, they said at a virtual national dialogue jointly organised by Bangladesh Health Watch, Brac James P Grant School of Public Health, and Unnayan Shamannay.
Speakers at the dialogue said that throughout three national budgets, significant amounts of resources have been allocated to attain the promised goals. Yet there remains a long way to go and all stakeholders must work together to fulfil these commitments.
Unnayan Shamannay Chairperson Dr Atiur Rahman presented the keynote paper at the event titled "Assessing progress towards the realisation of health-related commitments of Election 2018".
He said just analysing the budgetary allocations would not suffice to understand the extent of realisation of commitments in the election manifesto related to healthcare.
Rather, stakeholders ought the check for what goals the administration intends to attain with those allocations, added Atiur, who is also the former governor of the Bangladesh Bank
For this purpose, he suggested incorporating additional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the Medium-term Budgetary Framework (MTFB) of the government.
Meanwhile, Dr Ruhal Haque, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said that ensuring adequate human resources for the healthcare sector should be considered as the topmost priority.
Lawmaker Shameem Haider Patwary of Gaibandha-1 emphasised the need for decentralisation of public health administration.
Ruling party whip of parliament Abu Sayeed Al Mahmood Swapon told the participants that the government is committed to fulfilling its healthcare-related election commitments despite numerous challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic.