Sunday, April 21, 2019

Experts demand electoral pledges on TB control in Bangladesh from political parties

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-12-11 01:54:05 BdST


Political parties have been urged to incorporate tuberculosis control in their manifesto before the Dec 30 elections to achieve the targets of 2030.

The call came from a discussion in Dhaka on Monday where experts, NGO workers, government officials and media came together to discuss this infectious disease which is still a public health threat in Bangladesh.

The 2030 targets of the SDG are to reduce TB deaths to 90 percent and new infections to 80 percent.

“To make it happen political commitment is a must. And that commitment will come from the parties. Now is the best time to make this promise,” said Md Akramul Islam, director, communicable diseases and WASH Programme, BRAC.

BRAC that leads the NGOs in TB control activities co-organised the discussion with Bangladesh Health Reporters Forum (BHRF).

BHRF President Toufiq Maruf chaired the discussion with Line Director of the National TB Programme (NTP) Prof Md Shamiul Islam as chief guest. Adviser to NTP Programme Dr Md Abdul Hamid Salim presented the keynote paper. BHRF Vice-President Nurul Islam Hasib moderated the programme.

WHO Bangladesh Office’s medical officer on communicable disease surveillance, and Country Director of Damien Foundation Dr Aung Kya Jai Maug also spoke at the programme.

Prof Islam said the government’s main focus is to find out more patients from the community to stop the spread of the disease.

He said the government is increasing its allocation for the TB control programme and reducing dependency on donors.

The keynote speaker, Dr Salim, suggested some of the way forwards to achieve the 2030 targets – “sustained political commitment” with multi-sectoral collaboration, countrywide scale up of active case finding and preventive therapy, and recruitment, training and prompt posting of human resource to reduce the manpower gap in the field are among them.