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Importance of forming a Health Promotion Foundation to Ensure the Health of the People of Bangladesh

On the closing day the participants of the two-day virtual conference titled “Sustainable Funding for Health Promotion” organized by the Thai Health Foundation, Bangladesh Institute of Planners, Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust strongly demanded the formation of a Health Promotion Foundation.

Founder of Thai Health Foundation named Prakit Vathesatogkit, Barrister Shamim Haider Patwari (MP, Gaibandha-1), Muzaffar Hossain Paltu (Adviser, Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance) and Debra Efroymson (Regional Director, Health Bridge) expressed their remarks at the seminar presided by Saifuddin Ahmed (ED, WBB Trust).

Saifuddin Ahmed said, "We need to conduct continuous long-term activities for the development of the health sector". We cannot improve our health system by increasing our medical expenses. Rather we need to get out of the medical dependent health system. There is a big difference between established medicine and health in the two-day conference. We have to plan by accurately determining this difference.

Barrister Shamim Haider Patwari said there was a need to work together to improve public health. Political will is very important for this. The financing of the Health Promotion Foundation can be ensured with the money collected by imposing surcharges on various products that are harmful to health and the environment, such as sugary drinks, disposable plastics, over-processed foods, chips, unhealthy packaged foods, motorcycles, private cars, polluting industries, and other products that require extra electricity like AC, TV, Mobile phone etc.

Muzaffar Hossain Paltu said, "We need to invest more in research field." It is not possible for the Ministry of Health alone to protect the health of the people. We need to ensure environment friendly urbanization, safe food, clean water and air. Dhaka city is at the top of the list of polluted cities. We have to overcome this situation because health is most associated with the environment. Now the health sector needs to think in a broader context. Inter-ministerial coordination of good health is required. In this case, health promotion is working successfully in different countries of the world.

Debra Efroimson said that one of the responsibilities of the government is not only to ensure medical treatment of the citizens but also to maintain the health of the citizens. The issue of good health is related to the physical health, mental health and social health. Clean environment, clean water, food etc. are involved in our health to stay healthy. The Ministry of Health is working to ensure medical services. However, there is a need for a separate foundation that will work in coordination with the government on other issues related to public health other than medical services. In that case the issue of Health Promotion Foundation can be considered as a strong way to solute these types of problems.

During the two-day conference 3 plenary, 6 parallel, 1 participatory and 1 media sharing sessions have been organized. More than 400 people from different parts of Bangladesh participated in this conference. The conference was attended by 45 guest speakers.