Speakers at a seminar on Thursday said the government should focus on emerging challenges for the health sector.
Ensuring health facilities for the ageing population, the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, continuously rising per capita out-of-pocket expenditure are the emerging challenges.
They were addressing a session titled "Health Services: Inclusive delivery options" at the Bangladesh Development Forum-2020 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The Economic Relations Division of the finance ministry organised the programme.
Many challenges still remain in the service delivery areas of ensuring skilled attendance at birth, addressing the epidemiological transition, providing adequate health response to gender-based violence, improving healthcare for mental and neurological disorders, and service expansion to hard-to-reach areas and assuring quality healthcare.
While presenting a keynote paper, Health Secretary Md Ashadul Islam said expansion of city areas and expanding coverage of city corporations and a rising urban population pose new threats for the effective delivery of urban primary healthcare service.
The rapidly increasing demand for urban primary health care services, emergence and re-emergence of communicable diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya and prevention and control of non-communicable diseases continue to remain as challenges during the SDGs period, he added.
WHO representative Bardon Jung Rana said continuously rising per capita out-of-pocket expenditure has been pushing the affected lower-income and poor people to hardship, thus creating hindrances to achieving the universal health coverage by 2030.
There is a shortage of human resources in all stages of health services, he said putting an emphasis on regulating the private sector clinics and diagnostic centres for maintaining service quality.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the government emphasises reducing the ratio gap between doctors and manpower to achieve the universal health coverage.
Member of Public Service Commission Sheikh Altaf Ali, deputy assistant administrator of USAID Ms Kerry Pelzman, WHO representative Bardon Jung Rana, country director of Action Aid Farha Kabir were the panellists in the discussion.