Experts term health budget anti-poorStaff Correspondent
Health experts on Friday criticised the proposed 2012-13 budget for the health sector, saying it was against the interests of the poor.
Rashid-e-Mahbub, former president of the Bangladesh Medical Association, told New Age, ‘As far as I know, it is the lowest allocation ever.’
‘We had seen in the past that the health sector allocation was between 5 and 6 per cent, but the government has allocated only 4.7 per cent for the 2012-13 financial year,’ he said.
The government has allocated Tk 9,355 crore for the health sector, which is 4.7 per cent (excluding subsidies, pension and interests) of the total budget allocation.
This is lower than in 2011-12 allocation which was 5.1 per cent.
Farida Akhter, joint convener of Sasthya Andolan, said the government had decreased the allocation in the health sector and it would see it being undermined.
She termed the budget as a ‘political budget’.
She also criticised health ministry officials and
said it was a result of the complete failure on their part because they were not able to demand a bigger allocation.
‘The health ministry did not take any steps to consult with health activists and experts before the budget. Even when we demanded an allocation for the sector, they did not concede to our demand,’ Farida Akhter said.
Rashid-e-Mahbub said the service sector was ignored in the health budget. He said, ‘Due to inflation, health services are becoming more costly for the poor. As the government allocates little money in the service sector, medicine stocks will not be increased.’
‘The total health service of the country will deteriorate,’ he said.
He also said there were no steps taken to ensure that doctors could stay in villages.
‘The government acknowledges that it is a big problem, but there is no reflection of it in the budget allocation.’
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