Dhaka, Bangladesh
Regional cooperation

Regional cooperation

Dr A K. Abdul Momen

I am delighted to be present at the Inaugural Ceremony of BIMSTEC Traditional Healthcare Expo 2020. My sincere appreciation goes to AFM Fakhrul Islam Munshi, the Chief Coordinator and President of Bangladesh Ayurved Foundation, Ministry of AUSH of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh and the Indian Chamber of Commerce for collectively organizing this Expo in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, it was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, who for the first time dreamt of working together with the neighbours in South Asia after our independence. BIMSTEC is now one of the most important regional forums. It was Bangabandhu’s able daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who had been at the helm of Bangladesh Government during the time of the birth of BIMSTEC regional forum back in 1997. Regional Cooperation for collective development and prosperity for our people is an inherent component of our Foreign Policy today. Public Health is one of the core areas among the 14 sectors of cooperation under BIMSTEC. Traditional Medicine systems (TMS) have been playing a significant role in the overall public health care and well being of the people in the Bay of Bengal Region. Traditional Medicine has substantial contributions to the national economies of the Member States of BIMSTEC. It is imperative to continue our efforts and mutual engagements to further strengthen the existing cooperation mechanism in the field of Traditional Medicine. In Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took initiatives to include Traditional Medicine in 1973 to ensure primary health care services to the poor and underprivileged people of the Country. Over the last ten years, Bangladesh made remarkable achievements in the health sector under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Traditional Medicine has been a part of this development process. Present Government incorporated Traditional Medicine in the Election Manifesto of 2018. Our Health Policy 2011 set strategy to support and strengthen Traditional Medicine. We are happy to see incremental number of people receiving Unani and Ayurvedic treatment now-a-days. Historically, Traditional Medicine (Unani and Ayurvedic) is very popular In Bangladesh like many other countries of the world. Traditional System of Medicine namely Unani and Ayurvedic medicine have been used in our medical practice for thousands of years. Bangladesh is the home of a large number of valuable medicinal plants which naturally grow in a fragile ecosystem. “Materia Medica” of Traditional Medicine includes about 2000 varieties of medicinal plants in the Sub-Continent of which over 500 are known to be available in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Government created facilities to provide Traditional Medicine in the existing Government hospitals at the district and Upazilla levels along with allopathic medicines. Traditional Medicine has been integrated in national health delivery system under HPNSDP (Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program) programme. In 1999, our Hon’ble Prime Minister first introduced the recruitment of 30 (Unani and Ayurvedic) Medical Officers at District level Govt. hospitals. In continuation of this process, in 2014 and 2015, 225 Medical Officers have been recruited successfully. I am happy to note that at present, there are 131 Traditional Graduate doctors who are engaged in 131 district and Upazilla hospitals under the national health care system. A 100 bedded traditional medicine hospital is serving to the people under the national healthcare system. Our public-friendly Government is thus keen to develop the Traditional Medicine Services alongwith the Allopathic system of medicine to ensure quality, equitable and affordable health care for all citizens of Bangladesh. To strengthen the field of Traditional Medicine, we may include more TM manpower from primary to tertiary level hospitals. I am happy to learn that we have a future plan of establishing one Unani and Ayurvedic Graduate college in each of the three divisions of Chattagram, Rajshahi and Barishal and one National Research Centre of Unani and Ayurvedic System of medicine in the country. Formation of a separate Council for Unani and Ayurvedic is on the pipeline. To expand this sector, we may also explore regional and international cooperation and support in the following areas. I am happy to note that BIMSTEC Expo-2020 of Traditional Health care system is taking place in Dhaka at an appropriate time. While I congratulate the organisers and the participants of this event and welcome them in Bangladesh, it is my firm conviction that this two days long event and the side line brain storming sessions will facilitate a comprehensive series of debates and deliberations on all relevant aspects and issues related to problems and prospects of Traditional Medicine and its role in Public Health cooperation among BIMSTEC Member states and they will find out suitable recommendations for the government policy makers of the BIMSTEC countries. Excellencies, Participants Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope this Exposition will bring successful outcomes and extend opportunities of further cooperation through the sharing of experiences and expertise in Traditional Medicine. While I wish all participants good luck, I wish the Expo-2020 all success. Thank you all. Joi Bangla, Joi Bangabandhu

Share |