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Dhaka Tribune

Speakers call for increased budgetary allocation to combat non-communicable diseases

  • 19 journalists in Sylhet participated
  • 70% of deaths in Bangladesh attributed to non-communicable diseases
Update : 27 Mar 2024, 04:24 PM

While non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for the majority of deaths in our country, the budget allocated to fight NCDs remains alarmingly insufficient.

Necessary budget allocation is crucial to effectively control the growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases.

Such recommendations were highlighted at a virtual workshop for journalists titled “Budgetary Allocation to Combat NCDs: Bangladesh Perspective” on Wednesday.

The workshop was organized by the research and advocacy organization PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) with support from the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).

Nineteen journalists from print, electronic, and online media houses working in Sylhet metropolis participated in the workshop.

It was informed at the workshop that 70% of total deaths in Bangladesh are attributed to non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases, stroke, cancer, kidney diseases, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and hypertension. However, the budgetary allocation dedicated to combat NCDs is alarmingly low, comprising only 4.2% of the total health budget.

The workshop participants were also informed that despite the World Health Organization's recommendation for countries to allocate at least 15% of their total budget to the health sector, Bangladesh allocated only 5% of its total budget to healthcare in the fiscal year 2023-24. The government's health budgetary support is one of the lowest in the WHO South-East Asia region.

The government has several policy obligations to tackle non-communicable diseases including the goal of reducing premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by one-third within 2030, which requires increased budget allocation for this sector. Especially, to effectively address worrying non-communicable diseases like hypertension, it is crucial to implement the decision of including anti-hypertensive medicines in the drug list of community clinics along with ensuring the necessary allocation in the upcoming budget to prevent heart attacks and strokes and save lives. Research shows that investing Tk1 for hypertension screening and medicines can yield an overall benefit worth Tk18.

Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Bangladesh Country Lead of GHAI, Dr Shamim Jubayer, Program Manager, Hypertension Control Program, National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute and ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA were present at the workshop as discussants.

The keynote presentation was delivered by PROGGA’s Coordinator Sadia Galiba Prova.

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