Health care priorities in budget

9 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The country’s health sector, which is lagging far behind its Asian counterparts, has been turning into one of the chaotic sectors day by day. Given the budget allocation, expenditure and work priorities even at the eve of graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) list, it is fair enough to comment that the time has come to think out of the box to upgrade our health sector with a view to providing the people from all walks of life, especially marginalised people living in rural and hard-to-reach areas, with better health facilities in the upcoming days, when the country would be a developing nation.

It is our regret that the total investment in the health sector in Bangladesh, in the ratio of GDP, is less than half, than that of the ratio in whole South Asia. Moreover, the overall per capita health expenditure in other South Asian countries is about four times higher than that of ours. But the interesting fact is that the concerned ministry in our country has failed to use more than 28 per cent of the allocated yearly budget when many areas are seeking far-sighted decision to get more output in less expenditure. One of such areas is the primary health care facilities of the country. The government has established numbers of community clinics across the country to provide primary health care in rural areas; but, they are restrained to specific health services. However, the best of these community clinics can be made just by appointing some physicians and technologists along with offering testing facilities. Many other such things are there to make a significant difference in our health sector but are being ignored.

The attention, therefore, needs to be given not only to increase budgetary allocation in the health sector but also to address the loopholes in the systems on a priority basis. We have no option but to enhance the capacity of the health sector to provide health care facilities to all. It should be in topmost priority that we have to transform this sector in line with our national ambition to become a developed nation.