May 27, 2024

BSS, DHAKA: President Mohammed Shahabuddin on Tuesday called on all political parties to take consideration public interest while observing political programs as he addressed the Community Clinic’s founding anniversary program here.

“The prime aim of politics is to ensure people’s welfare . . . Public interest should be prioritised in all decisions undertaken by the government and the politicians,” he said.

Addressing the function at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium on Community Clinic’s 24th founding anniversary, the president also urged the political parties to avoid such programs that hinders country’s development and progress and intensifies people’s sufferings.

The head of the state also sought united work in implementing all the steps taken to ensure the economic and social security of the people.

“Work together irrespective of party affiliations and opinions to make all the public interest-related initiatives of the government successful,” he added.

President Shahabuddin put emphasis on extending all-out cooperation to ensure a sustainable progress of the community clinic, a public welfare institution of the country.

Appreciating the overall activities of the entrepreneurs of the community clinic, President Shahabuddin said, “Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had worked for the freedom of Bengalis throughout his life. Subsequently, following the path of Bangabandhu, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken various public welfare based programs for the community clinic to advance the country.”

Noting that public interest should be given priority in every aspect of the government’s activities, the President said, “In addition to food, clothing, shelter and education, multifaceted programs are adopted and implemented to reach medical services at people’s doorsteps to improve public health.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina started the community clinic on April 26, 2000 in Gimadanga of Gopalganj district to ensure health care for the marginalized people of the country and nowadays it has become known as a ‘unique model’ of health care globally.

But after the change of power in the 2001 elections, a vindictive, anti-public interest decision of the then government had shut down this much-appreciated healthcare initiative (community clinic) for marginalized people, Shahabuddin pointed out.

“Community clinics have become the place of people’s trust in terms of medical care for marginalized people, especially women and children . . . The utility and reputation of the community clinic has spread beyond the village-town to the national level and even around the world as well,” the President added.

He said a total of the ‘Ten Special Initiatives’, including community clinic activities, shelter house, electricity for all, my home my farm, social security program were taken by the government to materialize the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build a ‘Sonar Bangla’ and to fulfil the basic needs of the people.

These ten special initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, taken to build a happy and prosperous nation, free from hunger and poverty, are already playing a major role in improving the quality of life of the people, he mentioned.

The Head of State said this historic proposal by the United Nations under the title of ‘Community Clinic’, ‘The Sheikh Hasina Initiative’ is an important international recognition of Bangladesh government’s innovative leadership in primary health care in public-private partnership.

At present, 14,173 community clinics are working as a model of public-private partnership and providing health education at the grassroots level along with creating public awareness, he said.

The President also highly appreciated the contribution of community clinics in implementing mass vaccination program during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bangladesh has won many prestigious international awards like the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Award, South-South Award, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Award and Vaccine Hero Award in recognition of the achievements in the health sector, he said, adding that this achievement of the Prime Minister has brightened the image of Bangladesh in the world and made the nation proud.

The Prime Minister’s unique initiative ‘The Sheikh Hasina Initiative’ will spread throughout the world and contribute to human welfare, the President hoped.

Professor Dr. Syed Modasser Ali presided over the function. Health and Family Welfare Minister Samanto Lal Sen, Health Services Division Secretary of the Health and Family Affairs Ministry Md Jahangir Alam, Additional Secretary AKM Nurunnabi Kabir and Line Director of Community Based Health Care (CBHC) Dr. Md Qaiyum Talukder also spoke there.

Meanwhile, three dignitaries were awarded ‘The Sheikh Hasina Initiative’ gold medal for their outstanding contribution towards the establishment and further development of community clinics in Bangladesh.

They are – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s personal physician Emeritus Professor Dr. ABM Abdullah, the guest lecturer of John Hopkins University, freedom fighter Dr. Ahmad Al Kabir, and Director of Gopalganj Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Eye Hospital and Training Center Professor Dr. Nahid Ferdous.

A documentary titled “Smart Community Clinic – Globalization of Community Clinic” was screened on the occasion.

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