Welcome to my Public Health World of Bangladesh!

Welcome! If you are interested about the health and health systems of Bangladesh, its problems and prospects, you have come to the right place! Be informed...

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Celebrating Universal Health Coverage Day 12.12. 2016 "Act with ambition"

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is said to exist when ‘every person, everywhere, has access to quality health care without suffering financial hardship’. The three cardinal dimensions of coverage include population (‘who is covered’), services (‘which services are included’), and financial (‘what proportions of the cost is covered). The goal of UHC is rooted in the concept of human rights to health, which also makes sense economically.
As elsewhere, the movement towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is gaining momentum in Bangladesh, especially its endorsement by the WHA in December 2012 and by the UNGA in September 2015, and approval of SDGs in September 2016. The day of endorsement of UHC by WHA, the 12th of December 2012, is now celebrated as UHC Day since 2014. The Centre of Excellence for UHC unde the JPG BRAC School of Public Health, BRAC University, has celebrated the first and the second UHC day in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

This year, it also took part in observing the day, with some financial help from the Global Health Strategies as a member of the global UHC Coalition (739 organizations in 117 countries). Below is a short description of the activities by the Centre on UHC Day 2016, including a description of additional activities on the day undertaken by the Centre.

·         Rally for UHC

The Centre started the UHC Day celebration on Monday, 12 December 2016 morning with a rally led by the CoE-UHC. Besides the participants from JPG BRAC School of Public Health, over 150 participants from diverse organizations/institutions joined the rally. Participants included students of medical association named PLATFORM; doctors from Gonoshasthaya Medical College; students from Department of Midwifery, BRAC University; students from University of Dhaka; public health specialist; health program peoples; public health advocates; members of youth organizations named United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh (UNYSA Bangladesh); representatives from field level implementers like Sajida Foundation; BRAC; Social Education Development & Research Organization (SEDRO) joined the rally. Representatives from enlisted organization in UHC Coalition like Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, U Chicago Research Bangladesh etc. also joined the rally. A few participants from outside the city also came to join the rally voluntarily. Some passer-by expressed curiosity and joined the rally.

The assembly point for the rally was in front of the National Museum in Shahbag. The participants started assembling from 09:00 am onwards. T-shirt, cap and placards prepared especially for UHC day rally was distributed among the participants by 10:30 am. Under the theme of  this year’s UHC Day “Act with Ambition,” the participants carried placards and banners bearing slogans that reflected the mentioned theme, including “Health for All is a right, not a privilege”, “Universal Health Coverage - every person, everywhere, has access to quality healthcare without financial hardship”, and “No one should go bankrupt when they get sick”.

By 10:30 am the rally started from Shahabag and the procession headed towards Shahid Minar and ended by 11:30 am at Shahid Minar with short speech of participants from various organizations expressing solidarity and demand for UHC in Bangladesh. All the speakers’ emphasized on collaborative efforts and government stewardship to achieve UHC in the country. The rally ended with note of thanks by the organizers expressing solidarity to work together to accelerate this momentum for UHC in Bangladesh. The news of the rally was well covered by the prominent Bangla newspapers like The Daily Ittefaq and Bhorer Kagoj.

     Multi-stakeholders Discussion Session

To mobilize and consolidate stakeholders’ efforts and to discuss what has been done so far and how to proceed further towards  UHC in Bangladesh, an in-house multi-stakeholders discussion session was also organized by the Centre on UHC Day.

The program started around 02:30 pm with welcome and introduction note by Dr. Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, Vice Chairperson, BRAC one of the champion of UHC movement in Bangladesh. He dwelt on how the journey of UHC in Bangladesh was initiated and also emphasized on moving this agenda further forward towards achieving UHC in the country.  A video on UHC in Bangladesh context prepared by the Centre was played which highlighted commitment of GoB at global platforms including projection of prime strategies, policies and initiatives taken by the government at national level. The video also displayed various activities taken by the Centre towards accelerating UHC.

Prof. Syed Masud Ahmed, Director, CoE-UHC gave a brief orientation explaining the core concepts, and different modalities of achieving UHC in different countries. He also clarified some popular misconceptions regarding UHC. Prof. Malabika Sarker, Director, Research made a short presentation on quality of care highlighting its importance for achieving UHC . In another presentation Dr. Taufique Jaorder, Assistant Professor shared the concepts of equity and responsiveness for advancing UHC. Beside the presentations, there was also floor for sharing experiences by participants from different organizations who are working on UHC.. Two centre grantees (recipient of CoE-UHC fund) were present and gave brief overview of their projects that aimed to create evidence that will help to achieve UHC in Bangladesh. UHC status in respective countries and learning lessons for Bangladesh was also shared by one national and one international student (Bhutan) of MPH program of JPGSPH.

After this discussion session, the floor was open to clarify any queries of the participants and a participatory discussion followed Around 100 participants including in-house and outside guests attended the event. Representatives from different institutions like icddr,b, BRAC, USAID, Public Health Foundation of Bangladesh (PHFBD) participated in the program.

Different communication materials like banners, poster highlighting UHC day messages were developed and displayed. UHC day logo stickers were prepared and distributed among the participants to celebrate the event. All relevant publications from the centre was displayed for the participants to share CoE-UHC activities.

The session ended at 05:00 pm with note of thanks from the Centre Director and distribution of light refreshment among the participants.
Multi-stakeholders’ discussion session pictures to celebrate Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day 2016

·         In-house Health Camp

An in-house health camp was also organized in the main lobby of the office. The students of Department of Midwifery, BRAC University provided free health check-up including measurement of BMI (Body Mass Index), Family Planning Counseling, Counseling on household related violence issues and also demonstration on breast self- examination in a makeshift consultation corner Participants from within and outside enjoyed the services of the health camp.

·         Mainstream Media Mobilization to Build Awareness on UHC

From the end of November 2016, the Centre started mobilizing mainstream media by publishing Op-Ed and features on the progress of and way forward for UHC in Bangladesh and how it can bring positive impacts in the health system of Bangladesh. As a result, several write-ups of CoE-UHC members were published in different print and online Medias on and around the UHC day. On December 11, 2016 two articles were published featuring the global movement and Bangladesh momentum for UHC. Among these two write-ups one was published in a highly circulated daily Bengali newspaper ‘Shokaler Khobor’. The article in a very simple way shared the core concepts of UHC and also highlighted recent GoB initiatives and way forwards for UHC in Bangladesh. The other article focusing on UHC Day December 12 was published in an online daily Bengali newspaper ‘Dacca post’. Another article ‘Let’s Talk About Universal Health Coverage’ was published in ‘Vital Sign’ JPGSPH Blog. This write-up narrated the historic events that initiated the path towards UHC starting from 1978 Alma Ata deceleration to announcement of health partnership announcement for accelerating UHC worldwide. It also highlighted the challenges of achieving UHC in Bangladesh. An article focusing the basic facts of UHC was published in UHC day December 12 in another renowned Bengali daily newspaper ‘Shomokal’. One of the main stream Bengali daily news ‘Jugantor’ published the article which highlighted the ways to get involved and to act with ambition on this UHC day.

·         Online and Social Media Campaign on UHC

In addition to the mentioned activities the Centre took social media campaign as an advocacy opportunity for its potentiality to generate awareness among mass people. This campaign ran through JPGSPH Facebook and Twitter account.  A Facebook event page was created to share the UHC Day events plans in advance to mobilize and have maximum involvement of participants (give URL).  

·         Other activities on UHC DAY under the project named ‘Building Awareness on UHC in Bangladesh: Advancing the agenda forward in 2016’ from CoE-UHC

A TV talk show took place iand n the popular RTV show, Kemon Bangladesh Chae On December 12 at 11:30 PM focusing on “Acting with Ambition to Build Awareness of UHC.”  Mr. Ashadul Islam, the Director-General of the Health Economics Unit, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, prominent members of the academia and civil society all spoke about how to advance towards UHC in Bangladesh. The participants discussed the core concepts of UHC and dispel any misconceptions, Bangladesh's preparedness towards UHC and political commitment at the highest level, and options to overcome various barriers related to health financing, ensuring equitable and quality health services and essential medicines, and raising the awareness of the population for demanding health services as a human right.

Source: Report to the Global Health Strategies 2016

No comments: