Health care with a vision
Health is the most important asset of any human being and good health is recognized to be the among the greatest sources of human happiness.
Nationally, the people of a country who are healthy and are able to undertake the gamut of economic activities from their possessing enough vitality and stamina, are considered as fulfilling one of the major requirements for fast economic growth.
Bangladesh with a population of over 160 million certainly represents a challenge in providing healthcare to all of its vast number of people. But even the minimum providing of this healthcare –efficiently and effectively– can translate into great benefits of having a workforce with lesshandicaps from ill health for its members to produce more and efficiently. Thus, greater actual achievements in the health sector ought to be among the high priorities of all governments in this country from now on.
The World Health Day is observed annually in Bangladesh with the usual ceremonies. Different functions are organized including health camps to provide free medical services to people.
But the enthusiasm for observing this event notwithstanding, the realities in the sphere of public health services are far from satisfactory. It is not that Bangladesh spends too little as a developing country on health care. The public allocation of resources for health is fairly large given the limitations of the country and different sectors competing for scarcer sources.
Over the years, a sprawling network with rural health complexes or small hospitals have been set up all over the country. The major cities are a served by bigger public hospitals. The government has been progressively spending greater resources in maintaining such medical and health related establishments.
But corruption, poor supervision and lack of accountability are not allowing their users from getting the expected benefits. In a country like Bangladesh with a vast number of people living below the poverty line, the reliance on the public health sector for treatment and advice at bearable costs is understandably high.
Therefore, the overall improvement of human health in the country seems to depend very significantly on running these government managed health and medical centres truly efficiently.The preventive sides to health care also deserve far greater emphasis. The best strategy for a developing country with limited resources is spreading vital health maintenance related information among all sections of people .
Thus, regular and intense official publicities need to be geared up so that people can be made aware about what they can do on their own to keep away from illnesses. People can be kept educated about not smoking, taking proper diets, observing thoroughly essential hygiene and maintaining their physical environments safe. From doing of these things alone, a number of serious diseases can be warded off and health of people can generally improve. Furthermore, government should take on major campaigns to increase nutritional awareness.
People may learn how to cater effectively to nutritional needs from consumption of cheap but nutritionally rich foodstuffs. Children at schools and workers in factories can be supported with free distribution or sale at nominal prices dietary supplements or nutritious foods .
The potential of the idea of preventive health care is enormous. But it has been tapped little. Spending on the health budget can fall significantly with resources going into right areas if people in sufficient number can be made to understand that they can remain healthy, spend less on doctors or medication or getting well from sicknesses if only they can with practice over time develop a lifestyle that would help them to avoid contracting diseases in the first place.
The privately run health care centres present two different faces. On the one hand, world class hospitals and diagnostic centres are coming up in the major cities. Government should encourage this trend by allowing import of hospitals equipment at specially preferential reduced rates and by taxing the entrepreneurs in this field leniently.
On the other hand, regulatory activities in relation to sub-standard medical or health centres need to be tightened for the sake of improving the quality of services.