Bangladesh spends the least on health in South Asia

The government of Bangladesh spends the least on health among South Asian countries. Neighboring countries India costs $81 and Pakistan costs $49. It costs only 26 dollars in Bangladesh.

The government aims to bring down personal out-of-pocket expenditure in the health sector to 32 percent by 2032. This picture is running in the opposite direction in the country. Bangladesh has the sixth highest out-of-pocket expenditure on health. In the country in 2021, the private pocket expenditure in the health sector was 73 percent.

On Tuesday (June 11) at the Daily Star Building in the capital’s Caravan Bazaar, the speakers said these things by highlighting the information provided by the Global Health Expenditure of the World Health Organization at the round table meeting on health sector expenditure, a major obstacle to ensuring health care in Bangladesh.

In this situation, experts believe that there is a need for a revolution in the country’s health sector. A rule requiring domestic treatment by political policymakers could change the health care landscape. They go abroad for treatment whenever necessary. But if they could not go, they would have worked for the development of the health system in the country, they said.

Journalist Shishir Moral, professor of health economics department of Dhaka University, said that in order to reduce the medical expenses, the state-run drug manufacturing company Essential Drugs Company Limited (EDCL) should increase the production of powerful and public-important drugs by the government. Currently, new drug companies are talking about increasing the price of drugs. A strong role should be played in this regard.

He said that the budget in the health sector is insufficient. Here 12 to 15 percent allocation is required. Accordingly we got only 5.2 percent. Generally, the budget allocated in Bangladesh is told to the ministry in advance that this amount is allocated for you, you have to work in between. And to increase 5 to 10 percent from what is allocated every year. This is how allocations are made, which the Ministry of Health cannot go beyond unless there is something very important. Then the health department and the institutions under it give an allocation considering the last allocation. As a result, what is needed is not met.

Besides, important speakers said that those who will change do not seek treatment in the country. Manpower recruitment, monitoring, accountability, involvement of local people, involvement of public representatives.

They said that the out-of-pocket costs of long-term patients are 42 percent higher. In addition, the medical expenses of the disabled are three times higher.