Plans for world-class healthcare services

With an increased budget the healthcare services are set to drastically improve with special focus on the application of more advanced medical technology like nuclear medical physics for cancer treatment, tissue banking, and biomaterial research and human tissue rehabilitation surgery treatment.

Fifty-two designated reference institutes for chemical measurement have been established to enable world-class measurement and calibration in the country, which is a new addition in the healthcare system. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said that the government has been working with dedication and sincerity to develop a healthy and energetic population by ensuring quality health services.

He mentioned that following targeted healthcare interventions, the maternal mortality rate, infant mortality rate, child (under-5 years) mortality rate, malnutrition, stunting rate, low- birthweight rate, and others are constantly declining and hence the average life expectancy rate is increasing.

The Minister while presenting the budget said, “I propose to allocate Tk 25,732 crore for the Health Services Division, and the Health Education and Family Welfare Division, which was Tk 22,336 crore in 2018-19 fiscal.” He said that currently 12 ministries and divisions are implementing programs related to health and family welfare. The allocation for this purpose in FY 2019-20 is Tk. 29,464 crore, which is 1.02 percent of GDP and 5.63 percent of total budget allocations.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry for the first time have taken initiative to considerably improve medical education in the country supported by more advanced and progressive system to enlighten medical students. The government has a plan to establish a medical university in each division in the country to improve the quality of health education. Of these, Chattogram, Rajshahi and Sylhet Medical Universities have already started functioning.

The government has undertaken various activities including offers for fellowships and donations to modernize the medical system through the use of new inventions in science and high-end technology. To further improve healthcare services at tertiary level several projects have been undertaken which include, modernization and expansion of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, establishment of nephrology units and kidney dialysis centers at all the public medical college hospitals and all district hospitals, and establishment of cancer treatment units in all medical college hospitals at the divisional level.

Besides, steps have been taken to establish medical college hospitals at Hobiganj, Nilphamari, Netrokona, Magura and Naogaon districts. Alongside, steps have been taken to undertake projects to construct hostels with modern facilities, establish medical waste treatment facilities, and create child cardiac units to be established at each divisional hospital.

In a bid to improving maternal and child health the ministry of health plans to establish Special Care Newborn Units (SCANU) in 10 district hospitals and 61 upazila hospitals. The government will construct a 1,000-bed super specialized ward and a one-point checkup center, introduce afternoon health services, and construct a cancer building to modernize the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

A world-class bone-marrow transplant unit will be established at the University, together with a vertical expansion of OPD Bhaban-1 and OPD-Bhaban-2 to enhance the scope of services for general patients. As part of the government’s effort to facilitate the development of the pharmaceutical sector, a cash incentive at the rate of 20 percent is being provided to encourage exports from the producers of pharmaceutical raw materials and laboratory reagents. Construction of an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Industrial Park is underway at Gazaria in Munshiganj.

To ensure protection of mental health of citizens, provide universal mental health service, and ensure overall welfare, the Mental Health Act, 2018 has been passed in Parliament abolishing the Lunacy Act of 1912. Among other approved laws, the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act, 1918, and Community Clinic Health Assistance Act, 2018 are worth noting.