Experts highlight importance of communities in improving healthcare

The event provided an opportunity for all concerned to discuss how to best ensure the delivery of high-quality care at all levels of the healthcare system

To achieve improved health outcomes, public, private and non-governmental (NGO) healthcare providers must join forces to collaboratively improve the quality of services and build resilient health systems, experts at an event have said.

The learning event, “Integrated Community Development for Better Health: Perspectives from Bangladesh”, organized by URC, an international organization based in the US, was held at a Dhaka hotel on Tuesday.

The event provided an opportunity for government officials, the international donor community, including the United States Agency for International for Development (USAID), and representatives from Bangladesh's NGO and university communities, to discuss how to best ensure the delivery of high-quality care at all levels of the healthcare system in Bangladesh and beyond.

The dialogue featured keynote remarks from renowned educationalist Prof Ainun Nishat, former vice chancellor, Brac University; USAID Mission Director Kathryn Stevens; and Dr Jahir Uddin Ahmed, director of board, Social Marketing Company. 

Two panel discussions featured voices of individuals with experience in designing, implementing and sustaining health systems that are responsive to the needs and preferences of the communities where they work. 

The panellists discussed how incorporating strong community actions and voices into health systems strengthens societal partnerships, builds capacity in communities, and promotes trust and shared accountability for health system performance. 

The panellists included Riad Mahmud, country director, Max Foundation; Dr Najmus Sadiq, physician and URC technical advisor; Dr Abu Muhammad Zakir Hussain, CEO (honorary), Social Sector Management Foundation; Mostafa Nurul Islam Reza, head of agriculture and environment programs, RDRS; Toslim Uddin Khan, managing director and CEO, Social Marketing Company (SMC); Jean Margaritis, portfolio director, URC; and Md Mukhlesur Rahman, deputy director, Health Sector, DAM.

The event highlighted promising interventions and good practices in health service delivery at the community level. 

Conference moderator, Maureen Shauket, URC chief operating officer, commented: “New thinking and learning from the experiences of others is key to improving the quality of care and health outcomes in the communities where we work.”