Centre for Policy Dialogue Chairman Professor Rehman Sobhan has recommended adopting a vaccination diplomacy strategy and handling it professionally from its highest level.
He also urged the agencies concerned to develop partnerships with other relevant parties to enhance their institutional capacity.
"Resources are not a problem, but institutional capacity needs to be enhanced," said Professor Sobhan at a programme titled "Normalising Masks: Health and Economic Implications," organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) on Wednesday.
A survey conducted by non-government organisation Brac and a team of researchers from Yale University in the United States was revealed at the programme.
Only 13% of people in rural areas of the country wear masks, according to the survey.
If people are given masks for free and are encouraged in different ways to wear them, the rate of people wearing masks increases almost three times, said the report.
According to the report, the use of masks does not increase if a campaign is conducted with the leaders and people's representatives of an area. Periodic monitoring and motivation through a promoter increases the use of the mask by 29% and the effect lasts up to 10 weeks. This also increases the rate of social distancing.
The report also said free mask distribution may be the most cost-effective way to prevent Covid-19.
The report said a combination of four initiatives make people interested in using masks: no cost or free of cost mask distribution, offering information, reinforcement and modeling by trusted leaders.
It said Brac has been working with the help of the government's a2i programme and the Directorate General of Health Services to bring masks to 7.7 crore people in more than 3,000 upazilas in 38 districts of the country. More masks are needed to make this programme successful, which may cost the government Tk25 crore.
Dr Binayak Sen, research director at BIDS presided over the function, which Mashiur Rahman, economic affairs adviser to the prime minister, attended as the chief guest.
Ahmed Mushfiq Mubaraq, Professor of Economics at Yale University, presented the keynote paper "How to Normalise Mask Uses: A Cost Effective Policy" at the programme.
Asif Saleh, executive director of Brac, Abdur Rouf Talukder, senior secretary of the Finance Division, Mohammad Jainul Abedin, secretary, planning ministry, Firdausi Qadri, emeritus scientist, Infection Disease Division, icddr'b, Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, among others, spoke at the programme.