There is no alternative to universal health coverage to ensure quality healthcare for all the countrymen.
Speakers made the remarks at a national seminar on "Engaging Policy Makers for Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Bangladesh" held at The Westin Hotel in the capital on Saturday.
The seminar was jointly organized by National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Diabetic Association, Kidney Foundation of Bangladesh and Shastho Surokkha Foundation, said a press release.
The seminar decided to form a forum with the members of parliament on the implementation of UHC in Bangladesh and control of non-communicable diseases.
The speakers said the incidence of non-communicable diseases like heart disease, kidney disease, cancer and diabetes, are increasing day by day in Bangladesh. At present, these diseases are responsible for 67 percent of the total deaths in the country.
Low-income people are being deprived of adequate health care due to the high cost of treatment for these chronic diseases. Huge expenditure to the treatment of the disease are moving a large number of people below the poverty line.
Universal health coverage can solve these problems and ensure the healthcare needed for all. The key focus of UHC is to ensure that everyone receives quality medical care and that no one falls into poverty while paying for medical care.
The speakers also spoke about the importance of treating these diseases as well as preventing them. They said it would be more beneficial for the state to develop a prevention system.
For this, it is necessary to formulate necessary laws and policies, such as: amendment of tobacco control law, control of salt and trans fat in processed food, and so on. At the same time, it is necessary to pay attention to creating public awareness about healthy lifestyle and physical activity.
Planning Minister MA Mannan MP adressed the programme as the chief guest with Professor Dr Habibe Millat MP in the chair.
The planning minister said such initiatives will play an important role in health development. He noted that he would take initiative to implement the suggestions of the seminar for the development of the health sector in the country.
President Md Abdul Hamid gave a speech on the occasion of the seminar. Professor Habibe Millat recited his message on the occasion.
In the message, the President said that mutual experience sharing and exchange of views between local and foreign experts and policy makers at the international seminar would enhance professional skills and experience of the participants. He expects this event will play a positive role in advancing the government's healthcare program.
President of National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, National Professor Brigadier (Rtd.) Abdul Malik; President of Bangladesh Diabetic Association, Prof Dr AK Azad Khan; President of the Kidney Foundation of Bangladesh, Professor Harun Ur Rashid; President elect. of the International Diabetic Federation, Prof Akhtar Hossain; Executive Director of ICDDRB Dr Tahmid Ahmed; Senior Secretary to the Ministry of Planning Asadul Islam; and Bandana Shah, South Asia region director of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, among others, joined the seminar virtually.
Professor Khandaker Abdul Awal (Rizvi), secretary general of National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh gave welcome speech at the seminar. Executive Director of Shastho Surokkha Foundation Dr AT Nizam Uddin Ahmed delivered the key-note speech where he highlighted the need to implement universal health care.
President of the seminar, Professor Dr. Habibe Millat MP said with the participation of MPs, UHC activities in Bangladesh will move forward. There is a need to do more with the importance of UHC nationally and internationally.
He also laid emphasis on tobacco control for the control of non-communicable diseases. He said the current tobacco control law needs to be amended to make it up-to-date.
Moreover, the tax on tobacco should be increased in such a way that it goes beyond the purchasing power of the youth.
Therefore, as per the announcement of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, it is necessary to create a roadmap for the implementation of tobacco free Bangladesh by 2040 and to undertake massive public awareness programs across the country, he added.
Among the members of parliament ASM Feroze, Begum Meher Afroz Chumki, Nahim Razzak, Advocate Umme Kulsum Smriti, Shirin Akhtar, Shabnam Jahan, Arma Dutt, Nahid Izahar Khan, Aparajita Haque, Syeda Rubina Akhter Mira and Adiba Anjum Mita were present at the seminar.