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Health sector gets Tk 233b in budgetary allocation

FE Report | June 08, 2018 00:00:00

The proposed health budget has increased in terms of value but declined in terms of its percentage.

The national budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 proposed on Thursday an allocation of Tk 233.83 billion for the health sector.

The amount is up by Tk 27.32 billion from that of the last fiscal.

It also accounts for 5.0 per cent of the total budgetary outlay of Tk 4,645.73 billion against 5.2 per cent previously.

In FY 2017-18 the revised health budget was cut to Tk 200.14 billion from the proposed amount of Tk 206.51 billion.

Experts said it is important to make sure the money is spent in the health sector properly.

Historically, the health ministry cannot spend its budget, they added.

"I propose… Tk 23,383 crore… for Health Services Division, and Health Service and Family Welfare Division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare," said Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday.

"Our goal in the health sector is to ensure affordable and quality health and family welfare services for all," Mr Muhith said in his budget speech.

Activities like expansion of infrastructure in hospitals, increasing the number of beds, supply of medical equipment and construction of specialised hospitals in districts are continuing, he said.

Alongside infrastructure development, Muhith said they have started the process of recruiting 9,792 doctors in two phases to ensure health services for rural people.

Steps are afoot to recruit additional 4,000 senior nurses to make sure the doctor-nurse ratio stands at 2:1, he added.

"We've finalised the recruitment of 600 midwives with an aim to bring birth time child and maternal mortality rates to zero by 2021," Muhith added.

When asked for comment, health expert Dr Abdus Sabur told the FE that the doctor-nurse ratio globally is 1:3. It is stated in the National Health Policy too."

"But in the budget speech, the ratio is shown at 2:1 which is absurd as nurses are subordinates of doctors."

Mr Sabur said the government builds structures but cannot deliver service to people due to manpower shortages.

"The health ministry can build hospitals. But there is no synchronisation between health, finance and public administration ministries in creating posts and recruiting workforce to man the buildings."


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