Rohingya influx a formidable challenge to Bangladesh health sector, she says

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has received the prestigious 'Vaccine Hero' award in recognition of Bangladesh's outstanding success in vaccination to immunise children.

Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisations (GAVI) conferred the award upon the Prime Minister at a ceremony at the Conference Room 1 of the UN Headquarters on September 23.

GAVI Board chair Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala handed over the award to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Receiving the award, Sheikh Hasina dedicated it to the people of Bangladesh. "This award is not of mine, it's the award of the people of Bangladesh," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the success of Bangladesh in vaccination programme is now globally acknowledged.

The Prime Minister urged the people of the country to continue the vaccination programme to develop a healthy new generation that will build a prosperous Bangladesh as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.

Hasina hoped to reach the target of 'vaccines for all' in the country well ahead of 2030.

She said the sudden influx of 1.1 million 'Forcibly Displaced Rohingyas' in Cox's Bazar from Rakhine State is a formidable challenge to our health sector as they did not have access to any proper health services in Myanmar.

"We've taken extraordinary measures to raise immunity of the Rohingyas through vaccination campaign and routine immunisation. We've successfully conducted cholera vaccination, dealt with diphtheria and measles outbreak at the camps," she said.

Hasina said Bangladesh is the first country to use Gavi's updated fragility, emergency and refugees' policy to carry out Gavi-supported vaccination campaigns for Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar. "I thank GAVI for supporting us in this initiative."

She mentioned that when the Rohingays started entering Bangladesh, the government gave them various types of vaccines so that their diseases do not spread.

"At first we did that from our side. Later, we had got support from various international organisations, especially from the GAVI," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh's hard-work for vaccination is now globally acknowledged.

"I'm equally honoured to receive the 'Vaccine Hero' award on behalf of Bangladesh and all the frontline health workers of my country," she said.

Hasina mentioned Bangladesh was honoured with GAVI Alliance Award in 2009 and 2012 for its outstanding performance in improving the child immunisation status.

"Ensuring health and nutrition to all has always been a political commitment to our people. Through the Visions 2021 and 2041, we want to take the country to a stage which would be able to ensure the basic healthcare and sufficient nutrition for all," she said.

Hasina said immunisation has been the greatest public health success story in Bangladesh and she wanted to thank the Vaccine Alliance and other partners for their continued support and contributions.

She said the success of vaccination programmes in Bangladesh has effectively controlled most of the traditional vaccine-preventable diseases.

"Immunisation has been integrated with other primary healthcare services at all levels. Dedicated vaccine centres, and over 14,000 Community Clinics and Union Health Centres are providing vaccination services across Bangladesh," she said.

As part of government's continuous efforts to achieve the goals under SDGs national DTP3 coverage has increased to 98 percent from 85 percent, MCV1 to 97 percent from 77 percent and overall vaccine coverage in all districts increased above 82 percent, Hasina said.

She also mentioned that Bangladesh has measles, rubella and CRS elimination strategic plan to achieve the goal by 2020, and appreciated GAVI's support in this regard.

The Prime Minister said it is heartening to see that since its inception in 2000, GAVI has helped immunise over 760 million people against the deadly diseases saving more than 13 million lives. "Bangladesh appreciates GAVI's aim to reach an additional 300 million children during 2021 to 2025."

Hasina said the government is committed to immunising under the 'Universal Health Coverage' with support from the international community.

GAVI chair Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and GAVI CEO Seth Berkley also spoke at the programme.

Before handing over the award, a citation was read out by GAVI chair Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The citation said the Vaccine Hero Award has been introduced by the GAVI to recognize global figures whose dedication to the Vaccine Alliance's Mission has played a key role in helping GAVI and its partners to protect hundreds of millions of children across the globe.

"This is an award for those who have set out a clear ambition and displayed urgency in providing lifesaving vaccines to children and ensuring that no child is left out."

Sheikh Hasina is a true champion of immunisation as well as rights of the children and the women empowerment, the citation reads.

Climate Action Summit

Joining the Climate Action Summit at the UN Head Quarters on September 23, the Prime Minister launched the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) to make one billion people around the world safer from disasters by 2025.

Sheikh Hasina announced that over 50 countries and over 20 other organisations were joining this partnership at its launch.

About the process of the REAP initiative, she mentioned that it would bring together the humanitarian, development and climate communities.

Sheikh Hasina said the impacts of climate change have been devastating the lives of almost two billion people globally every year.

Mentioning Bangladesh as one of the most vulnerable countries due to climate change, she said her government has adopted adaptation and resilience-building measures, including an 82-year Delta Plan 2100, to deal with issues on climate change, natural disasters and water management, she added.

REAP is a new initiative created by the United Kingdom, Finland and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Universal Health Coverage:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on September 23 said collaboration among countries at regional and global levels is fundamental to accelerate progress in the Universal Health Coverage.

"Resource mobilisation to ensure Universal Health Coverage is a fundamental obstacle in many countries. Effective global partnership to formulate healthcare financing strategy for each country could be an important tool to achieve UHC and ultimately SDGs by 2030," she said.

The Prime Minister said this while addressing 'Multi-stakeholder Panel' held in parallel to the High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) on the theme 'UHC as driver of equity, inclusive development and prosperity for all'.

Sheikh Hasina along with her Spanish counterpart Pedro Sánchez co-chaired the programme held at ECOSOC Chamber of the UN Headquarters.

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Maha Taysir Barakat, Chair of the Board of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria; Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International; and Jeffery Sachs, Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Colombia University, were the panelists of the event.

Later, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina delivered national statement at the plenary session of the High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the Trusteeship Council in the UN Headquarters, putting emphasis on collective efforts to ensure the universal health coverage as its benefits are global.

"Benefits of universal health coverage are global and we need to work collectively. Collaboration amongst stakeholders around a common goal like universal health coverage is fundamental to our development. We should work together to achieve health for all," she said.

The PM said health is an integral part of the development journey and this is essential for continued economic and social progress.

About Bangladesh, she mentioned that in the face of all constraints and limitations, the government has developed innovative ways to ensure universal health coverage for all.

"We had also promised to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third through prevention and treatment as well as to promote mental health and well-being by 2030," Hasina said.

The Prime Minister said the government has already integrated the health-related SDG targets into the long-term development plans.

"Our 'Visions 2021' and 2041' have given top priority to health security. As per our election manifesto 2018, we are planning to expand the universal health coverage even further and make health service free for child under one year and for elders over 65 years," she said.

Sheikh Hasina will address the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and hold a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 27 there.

Bangladesh will seek expeditious global efforts to repatriate Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State.

"Bangladesh's stronger voice and participation in the UNGA is extremely essential to put international pressure on Myanmar to expedite the repatriation process," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told a media briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before leaving Dhaka for New York.

He said the five-point and reiterated three-point proposals made by Prime Minister Hasina at the 72nd and 73rd UNGAs, are still relevant to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis.

The Prime Minister might place new proposals to find the solution to Rohingya crisis, he said adding that those proposals will come up in a stronger way.

The Prime Minister will leave New York for Dhaka via Abu Dhabi by Etihad Airways at 9pm on September 29 and is scheduled to reach home at 5:35am on October 1.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts