- The AL’s Rupkalpo-2021 and Rupkalpo-2041 plans focus on equitable healthcare
- Significant Boost in Medical and Dental Colleges, Training Schools, and Expanded Hospital Capacities
- Surge in medical and dental colleges, training schools, and increased hospital capacities
- Inauguration of 17,000 clinics, recognized by the United Nations for grassroots healthcare
- Significant rise in doctors, nurses, and non-medical staff over a decade
The Awami League government in Bangladesh has heralded a groundbreaking era in healthcare accessibility, emphasizing equitable services for all, regardless of income. With the Rupkalpo-2021 and a continuing commitment to the Rupkalpo-2041 plan, this administration has set a strong foundation for comprehensive healthcare reform, placing basic health and family welfare at the forefront of its agenda.
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Recently, the Awami League unveiled its long-anticipated manifesto titled ‘Smart Bangladesh: Unnoyon Drisshoman, Barbe Ebar Kormoshongsthan.’ Within this comprehensive document, 11 sectors have been accorded top priorities, with the Public Health sector securing the notable position of 7th in the list of prioritized areas.
The Election Manifesto 2024 aims to portray a transformative vision of the government under the leadership of the Awami League over the past 15 years. The promise of Smart Bangladesh revolves around the development, progress, and prosperity of the nation, emphasizing the creation of a smart Bangladesh through the fourth industrial revolution, incorporating the Delta Plan for the next 100 years, known as Vision 2041. Climate change will also be a significant focus, presented in a smart and concise format.
Revolutionizing Healthcare Infrastructure
For higher education of doctors, there was only one medical university in Bangladesh in 2006, but now there are five. In 2006, there were 26 private medical colleges, which have now increased to 73. Six medical colleges are run by the armed forces. The number of dental colleges and units has increased from 3 to 10, with 27 private dental colleges established.
In 2006, there were 7 Medical Assistant Training Schools (MATS), which have now risen to 13. The number of Institute of Health Technology (IHT) institutions has grown from 3 to 14. Under the Health Ministry, the bed count in 42 district hospitals has increased from 100 to 250, and upazila health complexes have increased from 31 to 50 beds.
To reach healthcare to the grassroots, 17,000 community clinics and union health centers have been inaugurated. Due to political violence by the BNP-Jamaat alliance, over 10,000 clinics were closed. These community clinics have received recognition from the United Nations.
Over the last decade, the number of doctors in Bangladesh has increased from 10,338 to approximately 30,173, almost tripling. The count of nurses and non-medical staff has more than doubled. In 2006, there were 13,602 government nurses, which has increased to 44,357 in 2023.
The integration of IT in healthcare, marked by telemedicine centers and the National Call Center for National Health Reporting, has revolutionized service accessibility. Bangladesh’s recognition by the World Health Organization for eliminating cholera underscores the nation’s proactive approach to disease control.
Bangladesh has made groundbreaking strides beyond its borders, contributing to global health endeavors, notably in vaccine discovery. Notably, the nation has been hailed as the first to eliminate cholera by the World Health Organization. Looking ahead, the government is dedicated to implementing digital health services, establishing a Public Health University, introducing health insurance, and fortifying infrastructure to tackle potential pandemics.
Moreover, plans to enhance pharmaceutical self-sufficiency, prioritize local API production, and ensure comprehensive mental health services reflect the government’s commitment to holistic healthcare.
A Transformative Vision
Expanding and enhancing basic health and family welfare services remains a paramount goal. To achieve this, a comprehensive plan is underway, including the issuance of a unique health ID for every citizen, the introduction of hospital automation systems, and the establishment of a universal health system ensuring equitable access to healthcare for all.
Building upon the Vision-2021 initiative, Vision 2041 charts a course for substantial improvements and expansions in primary healthcare and the provision of free medicines through community clinics. Additionally, the forthcoming Health Insurance program aims to provide comprehensive coverage while the Healthy Aging Scheme outlines plans for Non-communicable Disease Treatment Centers and Senior Citizens’ Rehabilitation Centers.
Efforts will be directed towards bolstering the nation’s API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) industry and promoting self-sufficiency in healthcare production. Furthermore, stringent measures to regulate antibiotic usage are on the agenda to ensure responsible healthcare practices.
Prioritizing mental health and autism care at every level of the healthcare system is a focal point, with plans to enhance the effectiveness and accessibility of these crucial services.
In essence, this holistic vision for healthcare and family welfare underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring comprehensive, equitable, and efficient healthcare services for all citizens of the country.
In conclusion, Bangladesh’s unwavering commitment to bolstering public health and nutrition services stands as a testament to the nation’s progress. The strides made under the Awami League government underscore a forward-thinking approach, positioning healthcare as a fundamental cornerstone of societal well-being and progress.