DhakaTribune
Monday December 18, 2017 08:49 AM

‘Technology can transform the health sector’

‘Technology can transform the health sector’
Speakers at a special a session titled “Transformation of Healthcare in Digital Space and its Future” held at the Media Bazar of BICC, on Thursday, December 7, 2017; at the Digital World 2017 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Professor Abul Kalam Azad, director general of DGHS, said that the government is working to transform the health sector by using information technology.

Information technology can be vital in finding a solution to the existing problems in health care, according to a session titled “Transformation of Healthcare in Digital Space and its Future” held at the Media Bazar of BICC, on Thursday, at the Digital World 2017.

Keynote speaker, Associate Professor of United International University Dr Khondoker Al Mamun said that artificial intelligence (AI) can help health care initiatives to reduce health risks, enable preventive health care and its management and address non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes as well as neural diseases such as strokes, Parkinson’s, depression and many others.

Dr Khondoker Al Mamun said: “We have shortage of resources but if we can monbilize the resources in an effective way we can reduce misuse and ensure better use of it.

“Nowadays, our major concern is non-communicable disease that has been causing a large number of people to die. It is a preventable disease with a healthy diet, changing our lifestyle and being active.

“Diabetes, heart attack, hypertension, liver diseases are the most common non-communicable diseases that people of Bangladesh are suffering from. Around 60% of health care cost is usually borne by the patients themselves. The projection is that Bangladesh will have the seventh largest diabetic population in the world by 2030.

“Non-communicable diseases like hypertension lead to cardiovascular diseases and heart attack, and the solution is preventive measures. 90% strokes, 80% heart attacks, and 70% diabetes are preventable by only leading a healthy life.

“Technology can give us proper health service regulation. It will reduce the gap between urban and rural health care facilities and also will make our health care services more affordable and secure.

“Health care digitalization system, medical health records, mobile heath care apps and risk prediction models are necessary to improve our health care service and ensure an easy access to better information and decision-making.”

Along with improving health care, preventive measures at an affordable rate remain a vital concern for it to be adopted nationwide, emphasized Dr Khondoker Al Mamun.

However, speakers at the event said technology is a tool for doctors, not a replacement.

“Artificial intelligence also can play a significant role in bringing regulation in health care service. Yesterday we saw Sophia, a humanoid who can only interact with people but in the future we will have medical robots that will give us professional opinions like a doctor, such as analyzing health records.

“By 2035, robots will have the capacity to work side by side doctors to help make a collective decision,” he added.

Professor Abul Kalam Azad, director general of DGHS, said that they are working to transform the health sector by using information technology. He said: “The private sector can play a vital role in digitalizing the health care sector.”

Regarding the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh, he said: “It is one of the major causes of economic loss in the country.”

He urged the innovators to develop effective apps and technology to deal with non-communicable diseases and make the health service more affordable and easily accessible.

The session included Director Lab Services Professor Subhagata Choudhury, former Health Secretary Humayun Kabir, and Executive Vice-Chairman of eGeneration Group SM Ashraful Islam.

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