Accelerating Universal Health Coverage Towards Smart Bangladesh
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh organized an event titled 'Accelerating Universal Health Coverage Towards Smart Bangladesh’ in technical partnership with Shuchona Foundation, Chatham House, UNICEF, WHO and CRI. The first part of the event was an interactive technical session with Honorable Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, MP and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Co-Chair of Chatham House Commission on Universal Health, Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, moderated by SF Chair and Commissioner of Commission for Universal Health, Ms. Saima Wazed. The discussion of the two Prime Ministers was candid yet informative; a rare and welcome change from the format of keynote papers and speeches. It gave an opportunity to tap into and learn from their years of experience, and wisdom. The latter part of the event comprised of two parallel sessions to discuss issues and way forward on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) titled 'Improving Access to Affordable and Quality PHC for Universal Health Coverage' which focused on the health services and 'Health Care Financing for Accelerating Universal Health Coverage' which focused on the health financing. The event, held on 11 May 2023 in Dhaka, gave an opportunity for Bangladeshi and international figures who are working and experts in the field to be part of engaging discussions throughout the day.
Chatham House established the Commission for Universal Health (CUH) with the objective to encourage and inform governments to successfully implement UHC reforms by bringing together political leaders, health systems experts, and stakeholders from countries who have the potential to launch similar reforms successfully. Evidence from other Asian countries shows that Bangladesh could make rapid progress towards UHC, with a combination of increased political commitment, higher levels of public financing (in the order of 1-1.5% GDP), and a series of health systems reforms. The purpose of the event was to showcase Bangladesh's success in the health sector and explore opportunities to accelerate progress towards UHC in Bangladesh; be recognized in the South Asia region and beyond as a leader on UHC and health.
During the parallel sessions, speakers delved deeper into discussing the experiences from countries who identified practical recommendations to achieve and address underlying issues around UHC in Bangladesh. In the session, 'Improving Access to Affordable and Quality PHC for Universal Health Coverage' the discourse was on the way forward to improving accountability and efficiency in delivering the services more equitably and ways in which the service package can be gradually expanded. The second parallel session 'Health Care Financing for Accelerating Universal Health Coverage' initiated a thread of discussion on how Bangladesh can raise additional resources for the health sector and ways available and additional resources can be utilized efficiently for the benefit of the public.
Government representatives of Bangladesh, parliamentarians, UN agencies, civil society organizations, development partners, private sector, academia, and members of the media attended the event.
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