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Health budget size should increase

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 15th June, 2022 07:54:54 PM
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Health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque said the health budget should have been greater or at least equivalent to that of last year.

“The allocation for the health sector has increased this year less compared to the previous fiscal year. We think the budget allocation for health sector should have been greater or at least equivalent to that of last year,” he said.

The health minister came up with the statement while speaking at a discussion on the health budget for FY 2022-23 arranged by Bangladesh Health Reporters' Forum at the conference room of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Wednesday.

He said in last fiscal year, the allocation for health sector was Tk 32,731 and it has been risen to 36,865 crore this year. The budget increasing rate was 14 percent in last year while it is 12 percent this time.

About unused amount of health budget, Zahid Maleque said ministry is slow in implementing the budget as most of its work is done by Public Works Department (PWD), which operates in a sluggish way. 

“Since the PWD is not under our ministry, we can't do anything about it. At the same time, in case of expenditure, we need to go to finance ministry for releasing the fund. It takes a lot of time. We have a manpower crisis and lack of skills,” he added.

Describing the country’s health sector, Dr. Syed Abdul Hamid, Prof at the Institute of Health Economics of Dhaka University said the health ministry can’t use the budget allocation properly while there are many other problems in the health sector those are barrier to ensure Universal Health Coverage .

“Usually the health budget is prepared by increasing 5 to 10 percent allocation than the previous fiscal year. Though the allocation is increased in some units but the ministry has no capacity and skill to use the allocation. That’s why, some allocation remains unused. The government has to pay attention to it,” he added.

The DGHS director general Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, additional director general (admin) Prof Dr Ahmedul Kabir, director (admin) Prof Dr Shamiul Islam, the Health Reporters Forum president Rashed Rabbi and general secretary Mynul Hossain Sohel were among others present.