Community health worker and patients in a health centre in Bangladesh. August 2021. ©WHO/Nuruzzaman
by Sufian Siddique 21 May 2023
Wars and conflicts are increasing worldwide. People from any part of the world are not good. But we are better than other countries – it must be admitted. In terms of infrastructure, Bangabandhu’s golden Bangladesh has progressed quite a bit overall. Especially, the country has been at ease for the past decade and a half under the hands of the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Living in a competitive world, we have achieved a lot in various fields.
In today’s highly competitive world of ‘complex equations’ spreading ‘light’ in various fields is undoubtedly a matter of great pride and ecstasy. The recent scene of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gifting the World Bank with a painting (picture) of the Bengali dream of ‘Padma bridge’ proves that the ‘Bangla Township Light’ has spread to every corner of the world. “Golden harvest” has come to our house in various cases! The world saw a ‘new surprise’ as soon as the news of this incident came to an end! Recently, for the first time in the United Nations, a resolution on community-based health care was unanimously adopted. The historic resolution titled ‘Community-Based Primary Health Care: A Participatory and Inclusive Approach to Achieving Universal Health Services’ brought international recognition to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s outstanding innovative leadership in establishing a community clinic-based model of primary health care in Bangladesh through public-private partnership. This achievement is very ‘unique’ for Bangladesh. In the said resolution, the UN member states referred to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s successful innovative initiative in establishing community clinics as ‘The Sheikh Hasina Initiative’. Needless to say, this recognition successfully reflects Bangladesh’s strong commitment in improving public health care and establishing equity in global health care.
Notably, the adoption of this resolution is an unforgettable milestone in the global effort to achieve universal health care by 2030. Successful implementation of the resolution will play an important role in improving the health care of billions of people around the world by introducing community clinic-based health systems. This recognition of universal health services and the United Nations Development Goals will also have far-reaching implications for international cooperation.
It should be remembered that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched this ‘unique community clinic-based health system’ in Bangladesh in 1998 with the aim of bringing all the people of Bangladesh under primary health care. This project has brought a ‘revolution’ by bringing the benefits of government primary healthcare to the doorsteps of people at the grass root level across the country. The Prime Minister’s response to this initiative from the very beginning was widely appreciated by all sections of the people. World recognition was waiting. In the end, the United Nations itself received praise. How proud this achievement is for the country – only a patriotic Bengali can understand. It has to be said, this recognition in the indomitable development progress of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will brighten our image in the international arena in the coming days.
It should be noted that currently community clinics have made a silent revolution in the health care of the country, especially in the treatment of marginalized groups. It has changed the overall picture of rural healthcare. There has been a positive improvement in the health care of the country in the past. A recent evaluation report by the World Bank also says the same. Child mortality in Bangladesh has decreased by 29 percent. The birth rate has come down to 2.3. Breastfeeding rate has increased to 55 percent. The number of children receiving care from skilled health workers in the womb is now 64 percent; The rate of low-birth-weight babies has dropped to 33 percent. The rate of taking care of trained health workers during delivery is 42 percent, the prevalence of contraceptive use is 62 percent and the prevalence of measles vaccination is 86 percent. Uptake of all basic vaccines by 23 months is now 84 percent. As the average life expectancy of people in the country has increased with these advances, there has been a massive improvement in the quality of life at the same time.
After independence, there were several obstacles in the health sector of the country. The healthcare sector in today’s Bangladesh has come a long way. Bangladesh has surpassed India, Pakistan, Nepal and many other countries in health care. In this regard, community clinics are playing a major role in improving overall health care in the country—this claim has to be acknowledged.
‘Community Clinic’ is undoubtedly a big achievement for Bangladesh. We believe that this service will spread to every corner of the world under the supervision of the United Nations. And indeed, that would be a greater achievement for us. We believe that this ‘innovative model’ of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will spread light globally and take the global health system further.