Dhaka, 01 April 2012. Today in a seminar at Dhaka Reporters Unity, civil society groups urged to increase public investment to ensure primary health services and activate decentralized health service system all over the country. They also proposed to include displacement issue in safety net programs. The seminar title “Climate Change Strategic Plan 2009: Health and Social Safety Net” was organized by Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) and Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), two networks of civil society organizations. The seminar was moderated by Dr. M. Sohel Iqbal of EquityBD. Key note paper was presented by Syed Aminul Hoque, Secretariat Coordinator of EquityBD. Alhaz Prof. Dr. M. A. Mannan, MP and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health Ministry was present in the seminar as Chief Guest. Md. Israfil Alam, MP and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labor and Welfare Ministry, Dr. Nilufar Banu, Executive Director of BUP, Noman Khan of IED, Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, ASM Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation was spoken in the seminar.
In his key note speech, Syed Aminul Hoque stated that, in view of WHO research climate change will increase diseases up to 3-5% in Bangladesh. Government focus is a bit little on this issue neither in climate strategic plan, nor in 6th five year plan, and also in national annual plan. He mentioned that ensuring health services for the poor following MDGs will need to invest at least taka 16000 crore by government while the present allocation is only about 6000 crore per year which is less than 1% of GDP. It is very low compare to WHO proposed standard, which is 5 % GDP. He proposed regional level research on health and climate change correlation. He also mentioned that as there are 30 million people will be displaced due to climate change, and as it is already is being seen, the issue should be included in safety net program.
The Chief Guest, Alhaj Prof. Dr. M. A. Mannan, MP mentioned that Public Private Partnership (PPP) is important to promote services in health sector considering the climate change. He emphasized the necessity on dissemination of information on climate change up to the Upazila level for mass awareness.
Md. Israfil Alam, MP also focused on the resource limitation of government. He suggested increasing the funding on scientific research on climate change. He suggested to all parties to work together to meet the challenges of climate change in health sector. Dr. Nilufar Banu of BUP mentioned 60 % of women in the country suffer hemoglobin deficiency which causes high rate child and maternal mortality, government need to give attention in this regard.
In their speech ASM Badrul Alam, Aminur Rasul Babul, Noman Khan suggested the government to provide sufficient resources for scientific research, allocate at least 2% of GDP for health services, and decentralization of power and authority. They also advised to replicate the SriLanka model on health service.