High medical expenditure makes people helpless

High medical expenditure makes people helpless

Reza Mahmud

High expenditures are making treatment unaffordable to the country’s majority of people in Bangladesh.
Unnecessary pathological and other test requirements, unbearable price of medicines and absence of referral system are source of the reasons compelling the people to spend unlimited amount of money for treatment.
Most people are losing everything for treatment.
“My 13 years old daughter is sufferings from severe stomach pain for long. We have been compelled to change her doctors for several times from our home village of Barisal since last year. We are near to bankrupt for her treatment. Every doctor gives us long list of pathological and other tests. Every one handed over us long prescriptions,” said Abdul Haque, in front of Dhaka Medical College Hospital recently.

He said that they have now taken the daughter to a prominent physician in Dhaka who has also given some tests.
“We have sold some of our paddy fields to bear her treatment expenditures,” Abdul Haque said.

Experts said, some physicians are used to write long prescription for huge tests and advice patients for test in some specific pathological labs because of business interest. In this circumstances, overwhelming majority of the people of Bangladesh are seriously sufferings to bear their medical expenses.
According to the government’s Health Economics Unit, expenditure of people in Bangladesh is the highest in South Asia.

A recent report of the HEU shows people in Bangladesh have to bear 67 per cent of their medical bills which is the highest in the region.

Besides these, a recent research report of Brac University shows, high medical expenditures push 13.42 per cent of Bangladeshi household to fall below the poverty line annually.
It also said the huge burden of medical expenditures compels at least 15.2 per cent of the people to cut their expenditures on food, education and other necessary items.

In this condition, Bangladesh observes the World Health Day today (Saturday).
World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen this year’s theme of the day ‘Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere’.

When contacted, Professor Dr. Mozaherul Haque, the former Director of WHO’s South Asia region told to this reporter ” People, especially who live in under poverty line suffer from unlimited expenditures of health services. Some irresponsible phyisicans are increasing expenditures as well as sufferings by giving unnecessary tests and medicines.”

“Absence of referral system and proper monitor of medical services is liable for people’s sufferings and higher expenditures in this regards,” he said. The veteran physician said, “Whenever any patient failed to get adequate treatment from his nearby government health unit he become helpless to figure out for his next step for proper treatment due to absence of referral systems.”
Most of the physicians in rural health complex remain absence from their workplace due to absence of proper surveillance, he said.

The physician said, the third point of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is to  Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
He said it is highly necessary to accessibility, availability and affordability of health services to get the people rid from high expenditure and other hazardous of this sector.
The former Regional Director of WHO said, health insurance is must to ensure adequate treatment for poorer people.
He said, India and Nepal has noticeable advances in poorer people’s health services.
On the other hand, the government also has taken some initiatives to ensure health services for all classes of people.

State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Malek on Thursday said the government has taken an initiative to introduce ‘Health Protection Law’ aiming to strengthen the monitoring system of the health services at private hospitals across the country.

“The government is trying to control the medical costs and monitor the health services of the private hospitals. Already a wing has been opened at the ministry to monitor the health services at private hospitals,” the state minister said it while addressing a press briefing at the Secretariat organised for the preparation of ‘World Health Day’.

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