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Bangladesh lags behind Haiti in health expenditure

Sathia Kumar

Government expenditure on health sector in Bangladesh is 0.40 percent.

The African country of Benin ranks first in the list of countries with the lowest government spending on health as a percentage of GDP compared to all the countries in the world. The next name of the country is Bangladesh. Benin’s government allocation to the health sector is 0.32 percent. After that, Bangladesh is in the second place. Government expenditure on health sector in Bangladesh is 0.40 percent. Haiti, which is number three in the list, has more government spending on health than Bangladesh. Haiti’s health sector government spending is 0.43 percent.

The speakers gave this information at the round table meeting titled ‘Health Expenditure: A Critical Challenge in Ensuring Health Care in Bangladesh’ organized at the Azimur Rahman Auditorium of the Daily Star Bhawan in the capital on Tuesday (June 12).

In the round table meeting, the main article was presented by the convener of civil society and country director of IPAS Bangladesh. Syed Robayet. The opening speech was given by Golam Mortaza, Editor of Daily Star (Bangla Section).

In the original article Dr. Syed Robayet said that in 2000, zero decimal 51% of GDP in Bangladesh was allocated for health expenses. It’s been slightly lower. The budget has been declining continuously since 2017. Our GDP has increased (as a dollar) but the total GDP’s health expenses are 40 governments in 2021. If we saw in 2000, the government would spend less on healthcare than Bangladesh and Myanmar in the GDP ratio. Currently, the Bangladesh government spends the least in the region.

He said the health budget in Bangladesh is downward in the GDP proportion. The picture is in neighboring countries, Bhutan’s health budget is also downward. But Bhutan still spends five times more than Bangladesh according to their GDP. India has continuously improved in this regard. India is more than half a million times more government spending in healthcare than Bangladesh. Although Sri Lanka is in the fall, there are four times more than we do.

Maldives has continuously improved in this regard. Myanmar has continuously improved. Nepal has also improved. Pakistan is in the rise and fall. But there is no country around Bangladesh, because without Pakistan, government health costs are not below one percent in the proportion of GDP.

He discussed further at the roundtable meeting, Professor Syed Abdul Hamid, Professor of Health Economics at Dhaka University, Professor of Population Science at Dhaka University. Muhammad Minul Islam, Ipas Bangladesh Health Director Dr. Wahida Siraj, ICDDRB’s Scientist Dr. Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman, Women’s Party Project Director Samia Afrin, Care Bangladesh Health and Nutrition Program Director Ikhtiaer Uddin Khandkar, President of OGSB, Dr. Farhana Dewan, project officer at the Centre of Law and Shalis Santa Islam and the first light journalist dew.

Speakers at the roundtable meeting said most of the Bangladeshi policymakers are not improving the health sector conditions of the country for receiving treatment outside the country. If they were taking treatment in the country, the health system would change. Speakers from the meeting insisted on government allocation to reduce medical expenses from patients’ pockets and that the government’s drug companies produce more medicines.

They also emphasize on increasing allocation in the health sector as well as creating qualified and skilled people for spending money allocated.

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