The government will be introducing individual health ID cards to ensure effective healthcare at the grassroots level. In this regard, community clinic-based activities have been taken up at 23 Upazilas of the country.
While launching the distribution of individual health ID cards in Dhaka Sunday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the individual "Health ID Card' would play a crucial role in delivering essential primary healthcare services at the grassroots-level. People will get all primary healthcare services through this card.
During the event organised by Community Based Health Care (CBHC) of the Health Directorate, attendees were informed that the information embedded in the card will be updated online on a regular basis, providing cardholders easy access to community clinic-based government health services health services.
All pertinent information on the card holder – his particulars, medical history, and pre-existing conditions – will be stored and updated on a specific server.
The Minister also noted that community health workers have been playing a pivotal role, both by serving the healthcare needs of remote communities, and by building general awareness on the novel coronavirus.
He claimed that the drop in Covid-19 infection rate is a direct result of the public awareness campaign conducted at grassroots-level by the community healthcare workers.
Speaking as the chief guest on the occasion, the Health Minister claimed that unlike the United States, Bangladesh has not faced any medicine shortage during the pandemic.
The Health Minister said, "Our mortality rate is much lower than in relatively developed countries. This was because the government kept a close eye on the health sector.
Regarding Covid-19 vaccine, Zahid Maleque said, "We are in regular contact with the companies that are developing the vaccines. Once these companies start marketing the vaccines globally, Bangladesh will get them in the first batch."
Health Services Secretary, Abdul Mannan, said that the ID card would play a pivotal role in ensuring transparency and accountability in primary health care at the community level clinics. The initiative will continue to reduce maternal and child mortality rates and boost nutritional value.
In the meantime, Director General of the Health Directorate, Dr ABM Khurshid Alam opined that issuance of health ID card will accelerate the activities of digital Bangladesh.
He said that under the programme, information and particulars of marginalised people will be collected to ensure prompt delivery of the right service at the right time.
In his welcome remarks, Tulsi Ranjan Saha, managing director of Community Clinic Health Support Trust, said that the programme was being implemented in nine upazilas and the community response thus far had been quite encouraging.
He said the activities will be gradually scaled out nationwide to ensure that healthcare is delivered to the doorsteps of rural communities when they need it the most. He expects the service to reach 5,000 community clinics by 2023.
Household-based data of 12 lakh people has already been collected through the individual health ID card service. Data being archived include birth, death, and marriage records, which will be updated as and when needed.
The programme has already launched at nine Upazilas, reaching 61% of its target coverage.