Bangladesh top primary healthcare providers in SA: WHO official

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By Tanzim Anwar

DHAKA, April 03, 2018 (BSS) -The Regional Director for Southeast Asia of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh has observed that community ownership in primary healthcare system made Bangladesh one of the top healthcare provider states in the Southeast Asia (SA).

“Bangladesh is one of the top countries in my areas in terms of healthcare system, especially its ownership of community in primary healthcare system is better than any regional country,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal told BSS before wrapping up her four-day official visit here last week.

Terming the community health clinic initiative the reason behind the success in primary healthcare of Bangladesh, the WHO regional director said it’s great to see that the community is running for help to their own people.

“Setting up of community clinics in Bangladesh for the grassroots people is a very fruitful programme, and wherever I go, I highlight the programme as an example,” she said.

In Bangladesh, since 2009, establishment of 14,000 community clinics (CCs) for every 6,000 population across the country brings healthcare to the community doorstep. People’s participation is an important element of CCs. Local community members actively participate in their management.

Now people can get basic health, family planning and nutrition services under one roof and within half-an-hour walking distance from their homes, even in remote areas.

Khetrapal Singh said Bangladesh’s success in reducing infant mortality is better than any other country of the region. The maternal mortality ratio is lower than the WHO baseline of the region, she added.

“The immunization system of Bangladesh is quite good as well,” she observed.

She said the Bangladesh government’s initiative in fighting with contagious disease is also appreciated.

The WHO regional director said the present government of Bangladesh is committed to further improving the healthcare system and allocation of 2.5 percent of GDP in health sector is the manifestation of its commitment.

Praising Bangladesh government’s role in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in health sector, Singh hoped that Bangladesh will also be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the healthcare arena.

In recent years, Bangladesh had been praised globally for achieving successes in family planning, immunization, oral rehydration therapy, vitamin-A supplementations, despite resources constraints.

The Lancet medical journal that cited Bangladesh’s healthcare success as “striking” and recently said the system had been able to address the first generation of poverty linked infections, nutritional and maternity related diseases.