Dhaka, Bangladesh
Expand network of heart treatment

Editorial

Expand network of heart treatment

We are heartened by the glad tidings that a full-fledged cardiac surgery and vascular surgery department was launched at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) new building at a cost of TK 27 crore. According to a report published in The News Today on July 8, the health minister Zahid Maleque after inaugurating the cardiac unit came up with the information that people can now undergo bypass surgery at this unit at a cost of TK 40,000-50,000 . It is a good news for the common man who cannot afford to pay high expenses for treatment of cardiac ailments. A patient with heart disease has to spend TK 4-5 lakh to have a bypass surgery at a private hospital in the country while it costs much higher at a hospital abroad. Low income bracket people cannot bear such high expenses. The ubiquitous disparity is more conspicuous in health sector. The victims of the inequities in health sector are the marginal people who still go without proper and better treatment. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in health sector aim to ensure health and wellbeing for all at all ages by achieving, among other things, universal health coverage and make sure the access of the poor to safe, affordable and effective treatment including heart treatment. Prevalence of non-communicable diseases and high expenditure still remain as key challenges in the health sector. Heart disease has spread in Bangladesh alarmingly in recent years. And for that, it is essential to raise government allocation in health sector for reducing healthcare and surgery costs for the common man. We, therefore, cannot but greet the government for setting up this unit at DMCH to ease the common people's privations in getting bypass surgery. According to the minister, people can now undergo bypass surgery here at a very low cost. The cost of heart treatment has become a heavy burden on the lower and middle-income patients. The cost of bypass surgery at posh hospitals in the city ranges between TK 4,00,000-5,00,000 that is beyond the reach of middle-income patients, let alone the poor ones. In view of the surge in the number of heart patients, the government should mull over expanding network of heart treatment across the country to reduce pressure on hospitals in Dhaka city. The government should set up medical universities and centres of excellence in medical science outside Dhaka city, particularly at divisional headquarters to reach health services including heart treatment to countryside. The policymakers should come out of the Dhaka-centric development and focus on the peripheral development of the health sector.

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