Eminent physicians and public health experts have urged the government to ensure modern technology, skilled manpower and necessary equipment in all the hospitals, including those in rural areas, to fight against the non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as stroke and cancer.
"Modern medical science has developed a better stroke management system, but only 2 government and five private hospitals of our country have the technology. All of the hospitals are in Dhaka," said Dr Subhash Kanti Dey, associate professor of neurology at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
"Stroke is a disease that needs emergency treatment. So, the government should ensure stroke treatment facilities in all public and private hospitals across the country to save lives and prevent paralysis," he told the concluding session of the first National Non-Communicable Diseases Control Conference at a capital hotel on Friday.
"We observed that 85% of cervical cancer patients could not avail screening facilities, while only 11.2% received radiation treatment. There is a lack of facilities," said Pubic Health Associate Professor at the BSMMU Dr Faria Hasin.
However, the government has a target of eliminating cervical cancer from the country by 2030. To achieve this goal, she urged the government to increase manpower and resources as well as gender-based treatment.
Endocrinologist Dr Shahzada Selim, also from the BSMMU, said type-1 and type-2 diabetes were a big challenge for developing countries. A well-planned health management system was a must to tackle the silent killer-disease, he suggested and echoed Dr Subhash and Dr Faria.
Planning Minister MA Mannan, former president of the Bangladesh Medical Association Prof Rashid e Mahbub, and Glasgow Caledonian University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof James Miller, among others, spoke at the event.
30 local and foreign organisations including Bangladesh Health Reporters Forum jointly organised the three-day conference.
"Non-communicable diseases do not cause the same spectacle as contagious diseases, so patients remain neglected," said MA Mannan.
The NCD were more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas, he added, saying that diarrhoea was more prevalent especially in the haor regions.
"We do not have much capacity to deal with any emergency in the country. Other countries have better coping capacity to deal with any emergency. We need to increase that capacity as well."
The minister said the government should increase investment in community clinics.