Achieving health for all
In recent years, Bangladesh has received praise for its efforts to reform health care. Through effective governance, the country has been on track with its health Millennium Development Goals, while using relatively few resources. But with high rates of out-of-pocket expenses, the country still has a long way to go. To ensure that its people have access to affordable health care services, Bangladesh has decided to pursue universal health coverage.
Summary of UHC Journey
After increasing regional support for universal health coverage (UHC), Bangladesh approved its first Health Care Financing Strategy in 2012, which outlined a roadmap to achieve UHC by 2032 and generated momentum to begin UHC initiatives.
One early proposal is a Health Protection Fund that would include a contributory regime for formal sector workers, and a non-contributory health program for households below the poverty line.
Activity as a JLN Member
Bangladesh joined the JLN in 2015 and became a Full Member in 2017. A representative from Bangladesh currently serves on the JLN Steering Group. Members of Bangladesh’s JLN delegation have contributed to Financing and Payment Models for Primary Health Care: Six Lessons from JLN Country Experience and the Practical Guide to Strategic Communications for UHC and Planning Tool.
In 2018, representatives from Bangladesh participated in the following collaboratives: Leveraging Resources for Efficiency, Fiscal Policy for Public Health, and Domestic Resource Mobilization.
Implementing the JLN’s Knowledge
As part of the country’s UHC reforms, Bangladesh has introduced a social health protection scheme pilot project, named Shasthyo Shuroksha Karmasuchi (SSK), for the population below the poverty line in three sub-districts.
Bangladesh used knowledge acquired from JLN products to design and develop different segments of the program, such as the costing exercise for health benefits packages and modalities of provider payment. Moreover, participants gathered practical experience while participating in various collaboratives that has further accelerated the country’s journey toward achieving UHC.