Health Desk—30th March, 2017: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday assured the government of continuing its assistance to eliminate three major diseases — HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria — from the country.
The assurance came when WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official Ganabhaban residence in the capital.
After the meeting, PM’s Deputy Press Secretary Md Nazrul Islam briefed reporters.
He said the WHO regional director highly praised Bangladesh’s health sector development, particularly establishment of community clinics, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“Setting up of community clinics in Bangladesh for the grassroots people is a very fruitful programme, and wherever I go, I highlight the programme as an example,” she said.
Dr Poonam also said the WHO is encouraging other countries to replicate this programme to reach healthcare services at the people’s doorsteps.
The WHO regional director apprised the prime minister of the preparation for the International Conference on Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorder to be held in Bhutan next month.
Bangladesh, Bhutan and the WHO are jointly organising the three-day conference in Bhutan from April 19-21.
Dr Poonam also informed the premier that the WHO will arrange an international conference on autism in Dhaka this year or next year to create awareness about autism.
She highly lauded Saima Wazed Hossain, the chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh and daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for her role in autism issue. “The WHO has included autism in its programme because of Saima Wazed,” she said.
The prime minister said her government has been working tirelessly to ensure basic needs of the people including food, healthcare, education, clothes and housing.
About her initiatives for setting up community clinics in the country, Sheikh Hasina said she learnt from Bangabandhu on how to ensure healthcare for the people and gather huge experience in it by visiting across the country.
“After assuming office in 1996, we applied all the experiences for the development of the health sector and set up community clinics and union health care centres across the country to reach medicare services at the doorsteps of the common people,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina regretted that the BNP-Jamaat government after coming to power in 2001 closed down the community clinics out of political vengeance and deprived the masses of getting healthcare services.
The premier said her government, after assuming office again in 2009, re-opened the community clinics, and currently people are receiving healthcare services from 18, 337 such clinics and union health centres.