supro world health dayGovernment has to take the main responsibility of ensuring healthcare for all", speakers demanded that in a SUPRO organized human chain. The human chain was organized to mark the World Health Day, 7 April 2012, at 11.00 am in front of National Museum at Shahbag, Dhaka. SUPRO observed the day as part of its ongoing campaign for essential services. Along with SUPRO, its alliance members of Dhaka Campaign Group also participated in the event. This year's theme is "Good Health adds life to years". It focused on the importance of good health of the elderly people and to their healthcare needs.

The speakers also demanded that the government has to improve the healthcare system, service delivery and coverage of healthcare. For that government has to provide sufficient budget allocation in the health sector. But the government is actually reducing the health sector budget allocation rather than increasing. Universal healthcare could not be ensured by private healthcare services driven by profit. Commercial and private health care facilities could not provide healthcare to our millions of poor, rural and marginal people. But receiving health care is their right; it is integral part of their human rights and fundamental rights; they could not be denied of it only because they could not pay. Therefore, it has to be ensured by the government.

They also added that our elderly population is growing, recent estimates say that 6.8% of the population are now elderly; they are more than 10 millions in number. If they remain healthy they will be able to work and contribute greatly from their experience. But if they are ill-health, they will incur huge medical bills. Not only that to take care of them other people of the society have to spend their time and everything will culminate into real or potential productivity loss. This, in turn, will put pressure on our resources and ultimately affect the development of the country. But if we can take good care of them and keep them in good health we could save these massive costs. In our existing healthcare system special care and support for elderly population is almost nonexistent. Therefore, the government has to establish elderly care and support in all its mainstream service delivery facilities.

Later, a street drama on health care awareness was staged to highlight that if our senior citizens remain health they could live blissful life and could be priceless resource to the family and community.

In the programme, among others SUPRO Deputy Director Abu Ala Mahmudul Hasan, SUPRO coordinators Mousumi Biswas, Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, Saif Uddin Ahmed and Assistant Coordinator Md. Shariful Islam, Bangladesh Bhumihin Shamity president Shubol Sarkar, DEP Executive Director Unnati Rani, ORNOB Chairperson Md. Ahsan Zakir, Fulbari Protibondhi Samity President Mansoor Ali placed the demands on behalf of their organizations.

The Key demands are –

• Health sector budget has to be increased

• Privatization of health service has to be stopped

• Government health insurance for all has to be established

• Special care and support for elderly people has to be included in the health care system

• Long-term national plan for elderly health care has to be taken

• Vacant posts in the health services has to be filled up

• Specialist physicians has to be posted in local public healthcare centres

• Due presence of doctors and health professionals at local health centres has to be ensured

• Private practice of the government doctors have to be stopped

• Sufficient supply of medicine and equipments has to be ensured at all levels of hospital including Union, Upzila and District levels

• Maternity and reproductive health care awareness at grassroots level has to be strengthened

• Health and nutrition related issues has to be included in the text books and public health awareness campaign has to be initiated