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Move to ensure healthcare

Govt plans to introduce health insurance, says PM

WT24 Desk

The government has planned to introduce health insurance to ensure healthcare services for people, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Parliament on Wednesday, Agencies report.

As part of the plan, she said, the government has already started health insurance activities on pilot basis for the poor communities in Tangail’s Madhupur, Ghatail and Kalihati upazilas.

“The incumbent Awami League government has a plan to introduce health insurance with a view to ensuring healthcare services for people,” Sheikh Hasina said replying to a tabled question from Jatiya Party MP Md Rustum Ali Faraji (Pirojpur-3).  

She said the government has formulated the Healthcare Financing Strategy 2012-2032 for ensuring the universal healthcare services.

In line with the strategy, a pilot project – ‘Shasthya Surokkha Kormasuchi-SSK (Health Protection Programme)’ – has been undertaken to initially provide free healthcare services to the poor.

Under SSK, in-patient free services are being provided to the poor for 78 diseases in Madhupur, Ghatail and Kalihati.

The services are being expanded to the remaining nine upazilas of Tangail. “If the SSK piloting is successful, the activities will be expanded throughout the country,” said the Prime Minister.

The registration process of some 81,000 people who live under the poverty line in the three upazilas –27,841 in Kalihati, 27,232 in Ghatail and 26,455 in Madhupur — has completed.

So far, SSK cards have been distributed among 27,841 people in Kalihati, 27,118 in Ghatail and 26,218 in Madhupur, she said.

‘Balanced development’

Replying to a question from treasury bench member Benjir Ahmed (Dhaka-20), the Prime Minister said the government has taken measures to narrow the differences between urban and rural areas for balanced development.

The major steps taken since 2009 include nationalisation of 26,370 primary schools, establishment of 1,495 others, and recruitment of 1,79,717 assistant teachers.

The steps taken for the health sector include establishment of 13,500 community clinics, introduction of the 24/7 health call centres, and supplying X-ray machine, ultrasound machine, ECG, Semi-Auto Analyser, ENT OPD Set to upazila-level hospitals.

In the agricultural sector, the major steps include reducing the price of each kilogram of TSP fertilisers from Tk 80 to Tk 22 in four phases, while MOP at Tk 15 from Tk 70 and DAP at Tk 25 from Tk 90.

The other moves include opening some 1.01 crore farmers’ bank accounts by providing incentives and assistance and distribution of 2,08 crore agricultural inputs assistance cards.

About communication and infrastructural development, the Prime Minister said the government’s election pledge is ‘My Village, My Town’ which means that the facilities of a modern town will be expanded to every village.

She said the government constructed 56,947 kilometres of pucca roads and 3,11,274 metres of bridges and culverts in the last decade for the development of rural communication system.

About electrification, Hasina said the power generation capacity went up at 21,600 megawatt in the last 10 years.

Regarding the Social Safety sector, she said a total of Tk 74,367 crore was allocated for social safety net in the proposed budget for 2019-20 fiscal year.

In the current year, she said, some 4.4 million people enjoyed elderly allowance, 17 lakh women got widow or husband-abandoned allowance, 15.45 lakh persons with disabilities got insolvency allowance, and 2.75 working mother received lactating allowance.

Besides, about one lakh students with disabilities got stipends, and 30,000 patients with complex diseases received financial assistance, she said.

Apart from them, 55,000 tea workers, 84,000 bede (gipsy) and underprivileged marginal people as well as 6,000 transgender people got financial assistance this year, the Prime Minister added.   

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