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Health services too costly for 81% urban population

  • Published at 12:38 am May 22nd, 2017
Health services too costly for 81% urban population
Healthcare is fast becoming a major concern for the growing urban population as many in Dhaka find themselves unable to afford the increasing costs of treatments. A recent study by the Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), entitled “Citizens views on the state of health and wellbeing in Dhaka city,” found that 81% of the city’s population felt that the cost of available medical care was too high for them to bear. Presenting the study at a policy seminar called Urban Health: Issues and Way Forward held on Sunday at the LGED Auditorium in Agargaon, PPRC Executive Chairman Hossain Zillur Rahman said the increasing cost of healthcare was a major issue for Dhaka residents. The founder of Gono Shasthaya Kendra, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, said: “Every public representative is responsible for the healthcare sector and should be focused on providing quality healthcare to the people. The budget for the sector also needs to be increased.” Addressing this point, State Minister of Health and Family Welfare Zahid Maleque said: “Currently, only 1% of the budget is allocated to the health sector, but we are working on increasing this amount. However, working on health services is not only the responsibility of the health ministry. It should be a multi-sector issue.” According to the study, approximately 71.3% of the urban population said the quality of healthcare was poor, 56.4% felt that not enough doctors or facilities were available and 46.1% were uncomfortable going to hospitals for checkups because of the doctors’ bad conduct. Speakers at the event spoke at length on the lack of quality medical services, attributing it to the fact that the education received by healthcare providers in the country was subpar. Dr Nazmun Nahar, the director general of Birdem, also stressed the need to work toward making medical treatments available to both the wealthy and the underprivileged. State Minister Zahid highlighted the fact that very few hospitals were available, especially near slum areas, and those few were poorly managed. He added that the government was working on a five year plan toward providing better healthcare in the slum areas. Responding to this, the country representative of Water Aid, Dr Khairul Islam, said irrespective of whether the urban population had access to nutritious food or the time to focus on physical fitness, if the waste disposal was not managed properly, health issues would continue to plague the city, especially the slum areas.