Monday, February 24, 2020 | ePaper

Allocate more to ensure healthcare for all

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TO widen health coverage and stop impoverishing patients, World Health Organisation (WHO) recently urged the governments to increase spending in primary health care by at least an additional one per cent of their gross domestic product. According to WHO, public investment in primary health care close to home is the key to extend coverage and save lives that is achievable and affordable for Bangladesh. Despite some progress, more people have to pay out-of-pocket for costly medicines and treatment often. Thus,. It is quite shocking to see the increasing number of people who are at risk of poverty due to health spending.
Primary health care must cover access to essential drugs including for diseases such as diabetes and malaria. Because we know that the cost of essential drugs is a key driver of catastrophic out-of-pocket costs. Understandingly, we are at a crossroads in the health sector in which we see declining marginal returns on investment with new technologies that are expensive but don't necessarily always get a lot of health benefits. Globally about 925 million people spend more than 10 per cent of their household income on healthcare, including 200 million people who spend more than 25 per cent.
Public spending on health care is central to the universal health coverage, but there is no clear trend of government priority for health care in Bangladesh. The country spends less on health care than other countries in South Asia do and, indeed, less than most countries in the world do. Investments in health and the design of health financing policies should be addressed in terms of the interaction between health and the economy. To ensure universal health coverage by 2032, it is imperative to achieve the status of developed nation by 2041 by making a vow for 'Health for All'.

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