A day long workshop was held in Khulna. Different print and electronic media personalities were present in the workshop. Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Khulna Md Anis Mahmud addressed the function as chief guest and Deputy Director, Department of Family Planning; Khulna Md Shahjahan Howlader presided over the opening session. There the expert stressed the need for family planning in every section of the society to build poverty and hunger free Bangladesh. They also emphasized the need for collective efforts of all government and non-government organization to control the population. Among others Dr Yasin Ali Sarder, Civil Surgeon of Khulna, Md Shamsuddin Mollah Monitoring Officer of Family Planning Department and Dr Md Abdul Mannan Sheikh, Assistant director of Family Planning Department also spoke on the workshop.
A new award is introduced this year that is ‘Health Minister National Award’. This award was given away on 23rd February 2014 to inspire hospitals to improve their services. The awards were for the hospital authorities in national and district civil surgeon categories. Last August to December the MIS of the Directorate General of Health Services monitored 496 hospitals across Bangladesh. Before the selection a survey had identified eight areas in which hospitals could improve services without increasing budget and manpower. Those eight areas were cleanliness, staff presence, placing display boards in proper places, regular follow-up and interaction with staff, sending data electronically to the centre, gardening, waste management, and shortening waiting time at outdoors. Prof Abul Kalam Azad stated that they followed who could do best at least in four of those eight sections in four month. They had also monitored those hospitals using online tools and later health ministry committees inspected them and finalized the list. The consideration of that eight sector Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital topped in the tertiary hospital category, while the Faridpur Medical College Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital were joint runners-up. The health minister handed over the award to the hospitals authorities. MIS chief Prof Abul Kalam Azad also shared that the National Health Award will be continued.
The Health minister of Bangladesh Government joined a meeting with the district and divisional health administration in Dhaka on 23rd February 2014. Junior health minister Zahid Maleque was also present in the occasion. There the minister stated that he is strong minded to get more money in the upcoming budget. He also stated more than a month in office observed that his ministry lacked budgets in the way of ensuring “good health services”. The district civil surgeons and divisional administrators pointed to other problems as well, including shortage of manpower. The minister promised to address their problems but also urged them to work sincerely. He instructed health secretary MM Neazuddin at the meeting to create a local-level maintenance fund for equipment at the Upazila and district levels. The ministry has adopted a strategy to achieve universal health coverage by 2032 to ensure that everyone gets health services without suffering financial hardship to pay for them. Health Minister Mohammed Nasim expressed his determination to get more money for his sector in the upcoming budget, even if he has to fight for it. However, the district civil surgeons and divisional administrators pointed to other problems as well, including shortage of manpower. They also said that political transfers and postings posed a problem. Rangpur Civil Surgeon Dr Birajul Islam said ambulance, X-ray machines had been idle for long because of faults that could not be repaired. The civil surgeons also pointed out that the health administrators at district and Upazila level lacked enthusiasm, as they saw no avenues for promotion.
A panel discussion was held 0n 10th February on e-health standardization and inter–operability ministerial meeting. WHO representative Kieny was the chair of the program. She stated that WHO is observing Bangladesh’s e-health successes eagerly. Also shared that WHO emphasized Bangladesh’s experiences could hold lesson’s for the whole world. Health minister Mohammad Nasim also joined the meeting and showed the details on the country’s effort in developing e- health services. The Government has been prioritizing on e-health system since 2009. It has started scores of services in the health sector using ICT, from data collection and processing to delivering health services. The health minister also stated that the e-health services had been expanded to the village level, equipping community clinics with computer and internet. The minister also mentioned that they had developed a single data entry form to collect all health related information from the field.
A dissemination seminar of a cluster randomized control trial study titled “Training and Supervision of Traditional Birth Attendants on improved Rates of Early Breast Feeding in Bangladesh” was organized by Eminence, Associates for Social Development on 19th February 2014 at Sasakawa Auditorium, icddr,b, Dhaka. Honorable Secretary, M.M. Neazuddin, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was present as Chief Guest and Prof. Ted Greiner, University of Hanyang, Seoul, Korea, conducted the key discussion. The dissemination meeting was chaired by Dr. Mohammad Hedayetul Islam, Director, Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN) and Line Director, National Nutrition Services (NNS). The study was conducted with financial assistance from Alive and Thrive Small Grants and managed by University of California Davis, USA. The study objectives were to increase delayed cord clamping, to increase rates of early initiation of breastfeeding, to reduce prelacteal feeding and to increase exclusive breastfeeding as well. TBA training may improve TBA knowledge of recommendations related to the optimal timing of cord clamping and BF initiation came up as acclamation from the presentation by Dr. Shamim Hayder Talukder, Founder and CEO, Eminence. The findings of the study revealed that breastfeeding to be initiated within 1 hour of birth was known by 51% Traditional Birth Attendants before the training and it increased to 65% after the training. Again regarding infant to be exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age was known by 61% Traditional Birth Attendants before the training and it increased to 67% after the training.
A day long workshop was held at the CIRDAP Auditorium in the city on 18 Feb, 2014. The titled workshop was –“Stakeholder Consultation on Implementation of the Food Safety Act, 2013”. Here the food minister Advocate Qamrul Islam speaking as the chief guest and Mushfeka Ikfat, Secretary, Ministry of Food, in the chair. The food minister stated that the government is determined to reduce food adulteration to save the lives of millions people of the country. The food minister also stated that adulteration is more dangerous than terrorism and they will not remain silent because the government will determine to ensure food safety at any cost. The minister had remarks that the killers can be identified after the murder but at the same time blood shedding can’t be seen when some dishonest people apply poisonous element on food to kill everyone slowly. Food adulteration is destroying our future generation. The minister added that the government has enacted the “Food safety act-2013” and trying to enforce the law. The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) to be established as an Authority to implement the Act with the support from the law enforcement agencies. Five years imprisonment or 20 lacs Taka fine or both is the highest punishment for the food adulteration. Among the others Professor Alan Reilly, FAO Technical Expert on Food Safety Regulation and members from different ministerial attended the workshop. The expert also shared that use of formalin, a toxic chemical compound, in fish and other perishables is an open secret, but the law enforcers have so far failed to put an end to it. Adulteration food is taking place everywhere. The hotels and restaurants serve food items that may not be adulterated in the true sense of the term, but they use adulterated, rotten and substandard ingredients in preparing the foods which can cause harm to the consumers. So, food safety is a much broader term which must include introduction of safe and wholesome practices at every level of food production and sale.