Health insurance for all: PM

Prime Minister and Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said in the Jatiya Sangsad that her government has a plan to bring all citizens under national health insurance coverage for ensuring health service. As a part of the plan, the government is already implementing a pilot project at Madhupur, Ghatail and Kalihati upazilas of Tangail district by bringing poor citizens under health insurance coverage, she said.

The premier was speaking in the House while replying to a question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Rustum Ali Faraji in the prime minister’s question answer session. The answer was tabled at the beginning of the day’s proceedings. The government has already formulated the Healthcare Financing Strategy 2012-2032 for ensuring the universal healthcare services, Hasina said.

In line with the Healthcare Financing Strategy, the government has undertaken a pilot project titled ‘Shasthya Surokkha Kormasuchi-SSK’ (Health Protection Programme) to initially provide the healthcare services to the poor at free of cost at three upazilas of Tangail. Under the project, free health services are being provided to the poor for 78 diseases in the three upazilas.

“Work of spreading the pilot project to all nine upazilas of Tangail district is going on. If the piloting is successful the activities will be expanded throughout the country,” she said. The government also has a plan to provide medicine and health service under the insurance scheme, said the prime minister. A social health insurance project is being prepared for readymade garment (RMG) and tea garden workers with financial support from KOIKA, Hasina said.

While replying to a tabled question from the treasury bench lawmaker Benjir Ahmed from Dhaka-20 constituency with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair the PM said, “We are now becoming a rare example in the world for increasing living standard, education rate, average life expectancy rate and eradicating poverty.”

The Awami League government is firmly committed to ensure balanced development with reaching civic amenities to each of the villages in line with its election manifesto 2018 by accelerating the pace of village development alongside with the development of the towns, she said, BSS adds. “Bangladesh has achieved a huge success in the socio-economic development for proper implementation of the work plans taken by the Awami League government in the last one decade,” she opined.

The premier said that the living standard of the village people has increased and the tendency of going to town among the people has decreased as employment generation has created in the village and income of the village people has increased. In this context, Sheikh Hasina recalled the contribution of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for taking various pragmatic measures to ensure balanced development by eliminating discrepancies between villages and towns as Bangabandhu realized it could not be possible to build a prosperous Bangladesh ignoring rural development.

“We have declared “Vision 2021” to transform Bangladesh into a middle income country free from hunger and poverty by ensuring balanced and planned development to materialize the unaccomplished tasks of the Father of the Nation,” she said. “One of the main purposes of announcing the “Vision 2021” is to reduce rural poverty rate in a significant level,” she continued.

The prime minister has highlighted various initiatives of her government in different sectors for overall rural development to reach civic amenities to each of the villages with a slogan “My Village, My Town.” For ensuring primary education in the grassroots, she said, the Awami League government had nationalized 26,370 primary schools following the footstep of the Father of the Nation after assuming office in 2009.

The government has taken a plan for setting up a community clinic for every 6000 villagers aimed at reaching medical services to the doorsteps, the premier said. Regarding modernization of the agriculture, she said, the government is now giving up to 50 percent to 70 percent development assistance to the farmers to purchase agricultural equipments alongside with giving 20 percent rebate on the electricity bill in case of use in irrigation.

The government has been arranging uninterrupted power supply during the Boro season, distributing high yielding seeds among the farmers at fair price, distributing fertilizers and seeds among the small and marginal farmers, she also said. On development of communications network, she said her government has now been creating a ‘village road network’ for extension of civic amenities to each of the villages.

The prime minister said her government is working to reach electricity to each of the people, adding that the power generation has now reached at 21,600 megawatt by increasing the power generation by seven folds in the last 10 years. The government has set a target of generating 24,000 mw power by 2021 and 60,000 mw by 2041, she informed.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has been implementing National Social Security Strategy, 2015 in line with the principles of “Leave no one behind” and “Inclusive Development”. The premier said her government is implementing “Amar Bari Amar Khamar” project involving Taka 81,027 crore by which 75,993 village development samity (cooperative society) will be formed to facilitate 36,39,000 families from 2009 to 2020.