Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday sought cooperation from the World Heart Federation to conduct research on basic medical science and build skilled manpower in the health sector.
‘Help us conduct basic medical science research and give state-of-the-art training for our manpower’s development,’ she said when president-elect of the WHF professor Jagat Narula paid a courtesy call on her at her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka in the morning.
PM’s speech writer M Nazrul Islam briefed newsmen after the meeting.
Describing basic research as vital for the overall development of the country, the prime minister said that her government was laying greater importance on research of medical science for improving the healthcare sector.
Referring to the agriculture related researches being carried out during her government, she said that Bangladesh attained self-sufficiency in food production along with boosting milk, meat and fish production.
‘Research is mainly behind Bangladesh’s success in the agricultural sector, including attaining food autarky,’ she said.
Briefly describing her government measures for overall development of the health sector, the prime minister said that her government’s main target was to reach healthcare services to the people’s doorsteps.
She said that Bangladesh’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had planned to reach healthcare services to the grassroots level as he started setting up union healthcare centres across the country.
But, he could not finish his work as he was assassinated in 1975 along with most of the family members, the prime minister said.
Following the footsteps of the founding president, Sheikh Hasina said that she mooted the plan and started setting up the community clinics during her 1996-2001 tenure.
But the BNP alliance government in 2001 had stopped the community clinics project, she added.
However, assuming office in 2009, her government again started setting up of the community clinics, she said, adding now, over 18,000 community clinics and healthcare centres across the country are operating to make available healthcare services at people’s doorsteps.
The prime minister said that people were getting 30 types of medicines from the community centres free of cost as insolvent and poor diabetic patients were also getting free insulin.
She said that her government had already established five medical universities in divisional headquarters to impart higher education and research in medical science, adding that they were mulling establishing medical universities in every division.
She also said that many specialised hospitals had been built in public and private sectors at her government initiatives to treat heart, kidney and cancer patients, adding that they have a target to build specialised hospitals in every region.
The prime minister said that Bangladesh attained great success in the pharmaceutical sector as it was currently producing all the life-saving medicines and exporting those abroad.
WHF president-elect Jagat Narula heavily praised the health sector development of Bangladesh under the dynamic leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina describing the advancement as ‘impressive progress’.
He said that Bangladesh had plenty of talented physicians who need appropriate training and assistance to boost their efficiency.
‘I am going to take over the charge of the World Heart Federation as its president in January next and have a target to work first with Bangladesh, India and Mongolia on heart diseases,’ he said.
Dr Jagat Narula stressed the need for making aware the mothers about the non-communicable diseases as it helped reach its benefit at grassroots quickly.
At the meeting it was informed that non-communicable diseases account for about 50 per cent deaths in Bangladesh, of which heart diseases are responsible for 17 per cent deaths.
Director of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases professor Mir Jamal Uddin informed the meeting that the prime minister donated the institute Tk 7 crore from the PM’s Relief and Welfare Fund to help procure valves, stents and pacemakers for poor and insolvent heart patients.
As many as 300 valves, 450 stents and 250 pacemakers have so far been set up in the hearts of the patients, he said.
Prime Minister’s Office senior secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah, president of Bangladesh Society for Cardiovascular Intervention professor KM Fazlur Rahman, renowned cardiologist and national professor Brigadier General (retd) Abdul Malik, Bangladeshi expatriate in USA professor Chowdhury Hafiz Ahsan, professor MG Azam and professor Fazila-Tun-Nesa Malik were present at the meeting.