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Monday, April 6, 2020 11:06:02 PM
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Incapable health sector and coronavirus pandemic

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07th-Apr-2020       
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Even for non-communicable diseases, the country's poor people are not getting proper treatment due to the high rise of medical expenses. On the other hand, the authorities showcased outstanding success in healthcare improvement and public health indicators as well as poverty reduction. A recent study had found that out-of-pocket health expenditure was as high as 67 percent of the total healthcare cost in Bangladesh, which is the highest in South and Southeast Asia while the global average is 32 percent. In contrast to the poverty reduction success, the OOP expenditures push four to five million people into poverty every year in the country. The authorities concerned must chalk strategy to lower the OOP otherwise all the success in social indicators would be in the bay. As public health facilities are not fully equipped with the logistics and human resource and are often riddled with irregularities, healthcare service is largely provided by the country's mostly unregulated private sector. Over 63 percent of households seek healthcare services from the private sector. Drugs cost comprises of a large part of the total healthcare cost but drugs price is almost beyond government control.
Now situation has changed radically due to coronavirus pandemic. Most of the clinics are not providing medical services and many senior physicians have stopped private practice at their chambers. There were widespread allegations that a nexus between a section of pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare providers is mostly responsible for creating abnormal situation in this sector. If the public hospitals in the union and upazila levels were minimum functional with adequate health personnel and logistics, much of the problems faced today regarding coronavirus pandemic would have been largely solved.
It needs a number of ventilators along with ICU facilities to treat the coronavirus patients at this critical moment. But we don't know how such a tough situation could be tackled, if the situation deteriorates with the increasing number of patients, with this health sector of poor state.


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