Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called for mainstreaming the traditional medicine through a renewed focus on the age-old indigenous healthcare system alongside the conventional drugs as she inaugurated the National Health Service Week and National Nutrition Week 2019.
“We can’t neglect the treatment using herbal, ayurvedic, unani, and homeopathy medicines and should give more importance for their development to facilitate the people in getting treatment,” she told the ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
The premier said by now Bangladesh achieved huge success in producing standard conventional drugs and creating their demands abroad while “traditional medicines has a great value” as well.
“The demand of herbal treatment is enormous across the globe,” she said and stressed the need for extensive research for the development of traditional medicine.
The prime minister distributed ambulances and jeeps purchased under public fund during 2017-2018 fiscal to facilitate emergency healthcare services to the people at grassroots to mark the first-ever National Health Service Week.
She reiterated her government’s commitment to reach healthcare services to peoples doorsteps pointing out the initiatives taken so far for the overall development in health sector.
Sheikh Hasina said setting up of community clinics across the country was a part of the commitment to bring all the people under healthcare services.
She said around 14,000 such community clinics were currently rendering health care services to mothers and children and providing 30 different crucial medicines to the community free of cost.
She simultaneously regretted that such a basic health facility was closed down during the past BNP-Jamaat regime as it was initiated during Awami League’s 1996-2001 tenure in government.
The premier said a nationwide training programme was underway to develop skilled midwives to handle delivery cases.
She said the government also introduced telemedicine services through call centers called “Sasthyo Batayan” exploiting the ICT.
The premier, however, said these initiatives were actually follow up services introduced by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman recalling that his post-independence government had set up 10-bed hospital at union level to reach healthcare services to the people’s doorsteps.
Health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque presided over the function while state minister Murad Hasan spoke on the occasion as the special guest.
Health services division secretary Md Asadul Islam gave the welcome address while representatives from World health Organisation (WHO) also spoke at the function.
A video documentary on country’s health services was also screened on the occasion.
The premier mentioned that Bangabandhu had included health as one of the five basic necessities in the constitution.
She said in pursuance of that constitutional policy Awami League government put emphasis on creating skilled manpower such as doctors and nurses through establishing medical universities, medical colleges, and training institutes to facilitate the people standard treatment.
Sheikh Hasina said it was her government which set up the first medical university — Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka.
She said the government subsequently took a plan to build medical universities in each of the eight divisions while of the facilities three were set up by now in Chattogram, Sylhet and Rajshahi.
Sheikh Hasina asked the authorities concerned to take measures in appointing nurses of all academic background instead of recruiting alone with science background revising the rules or laws if required.
But she stressed the need for special training for nurses to take care of post-operational patients.
The premier said the health sector’s development increased the country’s average life expectancy to over 72 years from was 66.8 years and reduced maternal mortality rate from 3.48 to 1.72 (per 1000) and child mortality rate reduced from 41 to 24 per 1000 live birth.
Mentioning that the Awami League government is working to ensure universal healthcare services, she said, her government is currently giving financial aid to disabled. “All the disabled including autistics will be given financial aid from the next budget,” she said recalling the contribution of her daughter Saima Wazed Hossain to the welfare of autism victims.
The premier, however, asked the countrymen to be cautious against heart diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and kidney diseases in view of widening phenomenon of such diseases.
“These diseases are rather preventive than curative,” she said.
Stressing the need for creating awareness, she said, “Increasing mass awareness is one of the best solutions to this end. She also called upon all to take nutrient foods as prevention is better than cure.
The premier expressed her determination of achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) likewise the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) with making Bangladesh a developed and prosperous country free from poverty and hunger.