The UK development agency, DFID, is seeking to strengthen coordination between different health service providers in Bangladesh to protect the poorest from unacceptable healthcare expenses.
Country Representative Sarah Cooke on Wednesday said the poorest families “must not have to choose between losing all their hard-earned savings risking livelihoods, and losing a family member who can be cured. ”
At least 5 percent of Bangladesh’s population slip into poverty every year after having to bear unacceptable medicare expenses.
The DFID Chief was visiting joint USAID and DFID health programmes in the port city of Chittagong along with the US development agency’s deputy mission director Paul Sabatine.
Cooke said their efforts to strengthen the coordination between different health service providers was aimed at creating “an effective referral system for patients”.
“It is important that they receive the right health care from the right provider, from community outreach services to comprehensive maternal care”.
She said through their urban health program and contribution to the NGO health service delivery project, “we want to protect the poorest in Bangladesh from catastrophic health costs”.
During the visit, they observed Smiling Sun’s static and a satellite clinic service delivery for local people and interacted with service providers.
The DFID chief said Smiling Sun clinics were an important part of the UK’s effort in the health sector.
The two major development partners earlier this year joined hands in the health sector through the Smiling Sun network of health clinics.
Under this partnership, DFID provided an additional $29 million to USAID’s five-year $54 million NGO Health Service Delivery Project.
Through the project, the USAID said, the Smiling Sun clinics are able to reach several million additional people by providing basic health services that focus on improving women’s and children’s health in urban areas.
Smiling Sun clinics provide essential healthcare services to the poorest people in Bangladesh through a network of 26 NGOs, 334 clinic locations and more than 6,666 community health workers.
With its nationwide network, the Smiling Sun clinics provide integrated family planning and health service coverage to 23 million people in both urban and rural areas.