Published:  12:09 AM, 10 May 2021

Wartime preparations needed to cope with virus 2nd wave

Wartime preparations needed to cope with virus 2nd wave
Former governor of Bangladesh Bank and Bangabandhu Chair Professor of Dhaka University- Dr. Atiur Rahman has inferred that to avoid remaining unprepared against the second wave of the pandemic, government and non-government actors need to come together and go for war time preparations, according to  a release.

 For that health should receive 7.0 per cent of the total budget in the coming FY2021-22 and within the period of the 8th Five-Year Plan- this ratio needs to be raised to 10-12 per cent.

 He said so on Saturday at a pre-budget webinar titled "Public Expenditure for Health Sector: Proposals for FY2021-22" jointly organised by Unnayan Shamannay and Bangladesh Health Watch. In this webinar, chaired by Bangladesh Health Watch convener Dr Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, Planning Minister MA Mannan, MP was present as the chief guest. Special Guests were former health minister AFM Ruhal Haque, MP; Aroma Dutta, MP; Shirin Akhter, MP; and Professor Habibe Millat, MP. Among the discussants were founder of GanaShtasthya Kendra Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and National Professor Dr Shaila Khatun.

During his presentation, Dr. Atiur Rahman opined that increasing health budget alone will not suffice. The policymakers need to set the right priorities when spending such additional allocations.

He pointed out that primary healthcare is receiving around one-fourth of the health budget. Considering that the majority of the healthcare seekers need primary care, this ratio needs to be increased to 35-40 percent of the total budget within the medium-term.  He also urged to cut down allocations for other sectors, f needed, to ensure that 60 per cent of Bangladesh population gets vaccinated within the next 12 to 18 months.

Former health minister Ruhal Haque emphasised  decentralisation of health administration and reduction of bureaucratic delays in health sector.

Shirin Akhter highlighted the need for enhancing budget implementation efficiency in health sector. Need for better coordination among the state and non-state actors involved in health sector was highlighted by Habibe Millat.

Discussants also urged to take the lessons from universal healthcare related pilot programs implemented so far and based on that- initiate full-fledged universal healthcare programs across the country. Chief guest MA Mannan agreed to the need of re-prioritisation of health allocations and urged the civil society to keep pushing the health agenda.

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