Health is not a privilege, it is rights for All Stop Privatization and Commercialization in Health Sector

SUPRO organized a national consultation on “Health Service Scenario and Health Policy 2009” in CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka on 22 December 2009. Experts, physicians and NGO representatives demanded that the government should ensure people’s right to health services in the national health policy, now at the final stage of its formulation.

Mohammad Shahid Ullah, Campaign Coordinator of SUPRO presented a keynote paper at the consultation summarizing the findings and recommendations of report card survey and case studies which was undergone in 33 districts for last 2 years.

Member of parliamentary standing committee for Law Khan Tipu Sultan attended the programme as chief guest. ‘The government was trying to accommodate opinions of the mass people in the health policy,’ said Khan Tipu Sultan. He said that they were trying to allocate five per cent of total GDP for the health sectors to ensure better health services to all. Former state minister for civil aviation and tourism Abdul Mannan was present as special guest.

Speakers criticized this Draft Health Policy that it is a ‘medical’ policy not a holistic health policy. For better health services doctors and nurses need specialized training including behavioral training. Speakers also said that alternative ways of medication such as ‘Ayourvadic’ ‘Indigenous knowledge based medication’ has not been addressed in this health policy.

The seminar was moderated by SUPRO chairperson Abdul Awal. Uma Chowdhury, Director of SUPRO provided the welcome speech. Manju Rani Pramanik, M A Salam, Matiur Rahman, Daisy Ahmed – SUPRO National Council member, SUPRO district committee secretaries from different districts, Noresh Chandra Madhu, Executive Director of SPS, Dipti Das of Heed Bangladesh, Mehedi Hasan of Democracy Watch, Adan Islam – Executive Director of Dharitri Foundation, Ferdous Ahmed – Executive Director of SBSS, Firoza Begum – President of Bachte Sikho Nari were present among others in the consultation.
The consultation was also addressed by principle of Dhaka Nursing College Tahatun Nahar and Farida Akhter – Executive Director of UBINIG and joint-convenor Shashthya Andolon. The speakers said the health policy should be finalized in consultation with all political party leaders, physicians, members of the civil society and health experts.

Following policy recommendations came out from the national consultation:

  • Ensure immediate appointment of doctors and nurses in the vacant posts to ensure better health services to the common mass.
  • Ensure specialized doctors-nurses team and special allocation for vulnerable and disaster-prone area.
  • Take necessary steps for providing health cards for all.
  • The government should take the responsibility of ensuring health services to all by allocating 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the health sector.
  • Declare health as fundamental constitutional rights.
  • National health policy must be formulated without influence of debt-aid
  • Set up 100 bed hospital in each district and double the number of existing doctors
  • Authorities concerned should take measures to stop privatization and commercialization of health services and bring the private clinics and diagnostic centres under a monitoring system.
  • Finalize the National Health Policy with mass people’s participation.


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