Bangladesh Health Watch took an initiative to develop an inventory of policies formulated in the health sector in Bangladesh since its independence and to identify the forums are involved in developing these policies. Dr. Md Atiqul Haque, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Public Health and Informatics, BSMMU, and his team carried out this study.
A roundtable discussion to disseminate the study findings was held on November 29, 2021, from 11 AM- 1 PM at BRAC Center Inn, Mohakhali, Dhaka. The occasion was chaired by Dr. Zakir Hossain, former Director of IEDCR and a working group member of Bangladesh Health Watch. Professor Dr. Md. Sharfuddin Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor, BSMMU was the chief guest. Dr. Yasmin H Ahmed, Advisor, BHW, moderated the session. As panelists, Dr. Shah Monir Hossain, former director-general of the Directorate General of Health Services, Prof Dr. Sohel Reza Choudhury, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Research were present.
At the onset, the lead researcher Md Atiqul Haque presented the study findings. In his presentation, he disseminated the overall research process and study findings. The researchers also developed a comprehensive inventory of policies formulated in the health sector in Bangladesh since its independence.
At the roundtable, Dr. Shohel Reza Choudhury talked about the political commitment of the government which is never been met. "The beneficiaries voices have been neglected and thus the civil society needs to play a crucial role. The citizen's voice needs to be raised and their claims should be reached to the policymakers."
The panelists said health practitioners' involvement is necessary for policymaking. Otherwise, the ground will be faulty, and the beneficiaries will not get the optimum benefits. Addressing the function, BSMMU VC Prof Dr. Md Sharfuddin Ahmed said, "We need to set an institute like PATC as there were no such institute for the health practitioners and public health experts. Also, we need to enhance the learning capacity of these people."
Dr. Zakir Hossain said, "We need to develop a framework for public health. The framework should be made by the public health experts. There should be a collaboration of public health experts and civil society as well."
The mission of Bangladesh Health Watch is to provide a strong platform through which healthcare professionals and programmers, researchers, and citizens can get their voices heard and thereby influence policies and programs impacting citizens' health. This inventory will help to put further input into these issues.