Friday, April 19, 2019

Bangladesh can treat 80 percent patients at lower facilities: WHO expert

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-04-04 23:29:34 BdST

bdnews24
File Photo: Patients lie on the floor due to a lack of beds at a hospital in Jhenaidah.

The acting WHO representative in Dhaka has stressed an effective referral system in Bangladesh to address the load of patients at district or central levels, saying most of the patients can be treated at lower facilities.

“Most of the time I can firmly say that 80 percent of the ailments doctors respond to can be treated at lower facilities,” Dr Edwin Salvador said when asked about primary healthcare on Thursday.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque organised the briefing on the World Health Day on Apr 7. The theme of this year is “universal health coverage for primary health care with a focus on equity and solidarity”.

According to the WHO, primary health care can cover the majority of a person’s health needs throughout their life including prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.

At least half of the world’s people still lack full coverage of essential health services.

The WHO representative said primary healthcare is the ability of individuals and families and communities get access to essential healthcare without financial catastrophe when they service is needed.

Bangladesh has health facilities from the remote village to district and divisional levels. But any patient can see any doctor anywhere. Quality is also a concern.

The acting representative said, “As an individual, if you are sick, you should not go directly to the district hospital. We should go through the tiers of health facilities.”

“Each tier has an essential service package that is reflective of the needs of the area of responsibility of the health facility,” Dr Salvador said.

“If you don’t follow that, (it would mean) all the hospitals are crowded and all the doctors are overloaded. And you have doctors that spend only 2 minutes on each patient,” he said, adding that, “as a responsible citizen of Bangladesh, if you want the system to work, you have to follow that.”

“The essential service package ensures if I am in village, if I go to the community clinics, I’ll have the services. And if they are not able to handle you, they’ll refer,” the WHO expert added.