Held at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital city, the prime minister joined the programme virtually from her official residence, Gonobhaban.

The prime minister said the government has managed some 310 million (31 crore) coronavirus jabs for the people of the country. “No one will be left unvaccinated,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also said many are unwilling to take vaccines fearing the pain caused by the injection needle in addition to negative propaganda against the vaccine. “Our target is to bring 80 per cent of the total population, except minors, under the vaccination coverage to save them from the Coronavirus and the new variant Omicron.”

Talking about the success of the government in reducing population growth of the country, she said now it stands at 1.33

As the new variant is also infecting children, the government has started vaccinating the children above 12 years of age, she said adding, “Whenever WHO will announce the age of children for taking jabs, we’ll start vaccinating them as per its guideline. By the time we’ve given more than 130 million (13 crore) doses, including double doses. We’ve started giving booster doses as well as I want the people of the country to remain safe.”

She called upon all to strictly follow the health guidelines as the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus is spreading fast across the world very fast. “Please use masks and avoid mass gatherings.”

The prime minister mentioned that for collecting, purchasing, examining and vaccination, the government has made everything free when many countries, including the rich ones, around the world refused to do so. “Because serving people is our prime task. We’ve set aside allocations in the budget for this, and we’ll do whatever is needed to continue the vaccination drive.”

Health minister Zahid Maleque also spoke at the programme.

A video on development of health facilities in the country was also screened at the programme.

DMCH Renovation

The prime minister said Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) is a very old institution, especially its building is in a very bad shape, and might collapse anytime.

“We’ve taken a plan to build a modern hospital there enabling 5,000 patients to receive treatment, including specialised facilities, from it at a time. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start the construction very soon. But it cannot be done by shutting down the medical college completely. We’ve to do it gradually, taking one after another wing so that treatment of the patients can continue alongside the development work,” she said.

Free Treatment

The prime minister also mentioned that the government has a plan to provide free treatment to infants under one-year of age and elderly people above 65-year-old.

You (physicians) should put concentration on sorting out that what types of diseases are attacking our people due to our environment, weather, climate and overall other aspects, finding out some time from attending the patients
Sheikh HasinaSheikh Hasina

Talking about the success of the government in reducing population growth of the country, she said now it stands at 1.33. “There’s no need to reduce it further. We need a new population, young people,” she said.

The prime minister also briefly described various steps of the government to improve the healthcare systems in Bangladesh.

Physicians urged to spend time in research

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the country’s renowned physicians to spend some time in research alongside providing treatment to patients.

“We’re setting up medical universities for conducting research along with providing treatment as research is inevitable in medical science,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina asked the country’s renowned physicians to find out the diseases which are affecting the local people frequently.

“You (physicians) should put concentration on sorting out that what types of diseases are attacking our people due to our environment, weather, climate and overall other aspects, finding out some time from attending the patients,” she said.

She also urged the physicians to focus on the ways of increasing the resistance against those diseases and “the actions that can be taken for it”.

She said the government has been establishing medical universities in divisional headquarters where post-graduate level physicians will continue their study.

“I asked you to conduct research alongside attending patients and the government will do whatever is required for it,” she added.

Referring to the establishment of biotechnology institute in Savar, the prime minister said research in the field of biochemical, biomedical, genetic engineering and oncology is badly needed in the country.

“It is needed to find out why the country’s people are being affected with such types of diseases,” she emphasised; saying that the government wants technology knowledge-based more manpower be developed in the country.

Meanwhile, cancer treatment and bone marrow transplantation has started in the country but expansion of it is needed considering the requirement of the people, she said.

The prime minister also highlighted the establishment of different institutes such as Gastroliver, ENT, Eye and others by her government to provide proper treatment to people.