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Universal health protection stressed

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hasina3Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her hope that the World Health Organization (WHO) would come up with more technical assistance for its member countries to ensure universal health protection to turn their population into human resources.
"Let’s reiterate our pledges for ensuring universal health protection. This is the best way to turn population into manpower and make development sustainable. We can attain this only through united efforts," she said.
Bangladesh Prime Minister said this yesterday while was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 32nd Meeting of Ministers of Health of Countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region and the 67th Session of WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia.
Presided over by Health Minister Mohammed Nasim, the function was addressed, among others, by Indian Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan, State Minister for Health Zahid Malek, DG WHO Margaret Chan, WHO South-East Asia Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh. Health Secretary MN Neaz Uddin delivered the address of welcome.
Noting that Bangladesh has been actively participating in WHO’s all programs and discussions, Hasina said, "I hope WHO will become a stronger organization through implementation of the reform programs and be able to give more technical assistance to its member countries."
As almost the same kind of economic, social and health management systems exist in all countries of South-East Asia region, heir challenges are also of the same nature, the Prime Minister said.
"The rate of diseases and deaths is also the highest in this region and if we could improve further the health services of this region, then the world health services would also be improved," she told the conference.
Hasina said her government has given special importance to woman and child health development as well as implemented various service programs helpful for women and children health and improving their living standards. "We believe child becomes healthy if mother possesses a sound health. This paves and widens the way for building a healthy nation," she added.
Prioritizing on social, economical and environmental aspects for building a healthy nation, Hasina said that her government has been implementing integrated working plan to alleviate poverty, ensuring education, gender equity, empowerment of women and family planning.
Terming food safety as an important matter for public health, she said the government has taken effective steps to check food adulteration using chemicals, engime, hormones and organic objects in food. "We've ensured food and nutrition security for the low-income people for which the rate of poverty has now come down to 25 percent from 40 percent in 2005."
 Highlighting various steps and achievements of her government in the health sector, the Premier said that midwifery training course of international standard has been launched, posts for 3,000 midwives has been created and they would be appointed soon, the country attained MDG-4 in 2012 and in right track for attaining MDG-5.
The government introduced countrywide intensive monitoring system of pregnant mothers and children in a bid to implement the world strategy paper on mother and child related aspects of the UN, she added.
The Prime Minister also noted that Bangladesh has eradicated polio and leprosy diseases while various programs are being implemented to control transmissible diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, avian influenza, anthrax, Nipah and dengue.
Besides, she said, checking of non-transmissble diseases, nutrition, autism and mental health programs have been incorporated in the mainstream healthcare services.
She said that the four-day conference will also highlight autism and other development disorders where her daughter Saima Wazed Hossain will present the keynote paper on autism.
Hasina said that awareness about autism has increased a lot in the country with the initiative of Saima Wazed, a child psychologist.