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Dhaka Tribune

President urges political parties to prioritize public interest

  • 'Prime aim of politics is to ensure people's welfare'
  • 14,173 community clinics working as model of public-private partnership


Update : 30 Apr 2024, 04:52 PM

President Mohammed Shahabuddin has called on all political parties to consider public interest while observing political programs as he addressed a Community Clinic founding anniversary event on Tuesday.

"The prime aim of politics is to ensure people's welfare. Public interest should be prioritized in all decisions undertaken by the government and the politicians," he said.

Addressing the function at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium on Community Clinic's 24th founding anniversary, the president also urged political parties to avoid programs that hinder the country's development and progress and intensify people's sufferings.

The head of state also sought united work in implementing all the steps taken to ensure the economic and social security of the people.

"Work together irrespective of party affiliations and opinions to make all the public interest-related initiatives of the government successful," he added.

President Shahabuddin emphasized extending all-out cooperation to ensure the sustainable progress of the community clinic, a public welfare institution in the country.

Appreciating the overall activities of the entrepreneurs of the community clinic, President Shahabuddin said: "Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman worked for the freedom of Bangalis throughout his life. Subsequently, following the path of Bangabandhu, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken up various public welfare-based programs for the community clinic to advance the country."

Noting that public interest should be given priority in every aspect of the government's activities, the president said: "In addition to food, clothing, shelter, and education, multifaceted programs are adopted and implemented to reach medical services at people’s doorsteps to improve public health."

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina started Community Clinic on April 26, 2000, in Gimadanga, Gopalganj, to ensure health care for the marginalized people of the country, and nowadays it has become known as a "unique model" of healthcare globally.

But after a change of power in the 2001 election, a vindictive, anti-public interest decision of the then government shut down this much-appreciated healthcare initiative for marginalized people, President Shahabuddin pointed out.

“Community clinics have become the place of people’s trust in terms of medical care for marginalized people, especially women and children. The utility and reputation of the community clinic have spread beyond the village-town level to the national level and even around the world as well,” the president added.

He said a total of the “Ten Special Initiatives”, including community clinic activities, shelter houses, Electricity for All, My Home, My Farm, and the social security program, were taken by the government to materialize the dream of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build a Sonar Bangla and to fulfil the basic needs of the people.

These ten special initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, taken to build a happy and prosperous nation free from hunger and poverty, are already playing a major role in improving the quality of life of the people, he mentioned.

The head of state said this historic proposal by the United Nations under the title “Community Clinic”, “The Sheikh Hasina Initiative”, is an important international recognition of the Bangladesh government's innovative leadership in primary health care in a public-private partnership.

At present, 14,173 community clinics are working as a model of public-private partnership, providing health education at the grassroots level along with creating public awareness, he said.

The president also highly appreciated the contribution of community clinics in implementing a mass vaccination program during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bangladesh has won many prestigious international awards like the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Award, South-South Award, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Award, and Vaccine Hero Award in recognition of its achievements in the health sector, he said, adding that this achievement of the prime minister has brightened the image of Bangladesh in the world and made the nation proud.

The prime minister's unique initiative, “The Sheikh Hasina Initiative”, will spread throughout the world and contribute to human welfare, as the president hoped.

Three dignitaries were awarded “The Sheikh Hasina Initiative” gold medal for their outstanding contribution towards the establishment and further development of community clinics in Bangladesh.

They are Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's personal physician, Emeritus Professor Dr ABM Abdullah, guest lecturer at Johns Hopkins University Dr Ahmad Al Kabir, and Director of Gopalganj Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Eye Hospital and Training Centre Professor Dr Nahid Ferdous.

A documentary titled “Smart Community Clinic: The Globalization of Community Clinic” was screened on the occasion.

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