Community clinics model: UN adopts resolution highlighting Sheikh Hasina initiative

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Published on May 17, 2023
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The United Nations unanimously adopted the first-ever resolution on community-based healthcare on Tuesday.

The resolution, titled “Community-based primary healthcare: a participatory and inclusive approach to universal health coverage,” acknowledged the important role community clinics play in promoting primary healthcare, women's empowerment, community engagement and mobilization towards achieving universal access to health.

In recognition of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's stellar contribution to establishing model community clinics in Bangladesh, the resolution highlighted “the Sheikh Hasina initiative” as an exemplary innovative model of public-private partnership, said the government.

By introducing the community clinic model of Bangladesh, the resolution asked member states to explore measures to scale up and reference best practices to benefit from a successful national experience.

It reflects Bangladesh's commitment to improving the health and well-being of its citizens, and to contributing to global health equity.

The Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, Muhammad Abdul Muhith, introduced the resolution in the General Assembly.

The resolution, the first of its kind in the United Nations or the World Health Organization, was co-sponsored by 70 countries.

Ambassador Muhith highlighted the impact of the resolution on achieving universal health coverage through inclusive community-based primary health care. Referring to Tuesday's adoption of the resolution as a watershed moment in global efforts for universal and equitable access to health for all, he said that implementation of the resolution can make a world of difference to the lives of billions and their families and communities around the world.

“It has a far-reaching impact in promoting international cooperation for universal health coverage as it invites international financial institutions, multilateral and regional development banks and donors to provide appropriate resources, especially for developing countries, to strengthen community-based health services towards the full implementation of the SDGs,” he added.

To bring all people of Bangladesh under primary healthcare coverage, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina introduced this unique community clinic model in Bangladesh in 1998 which has revolutionized the health care delivery to reach the doorsteps of people all over the country, particularly those in under-served areas and hard-to-reach populations.

The government has so far established more than 14,000 community clinics all over the country, with each clinic serving a 6,000 population.

Adoption of the resolution is a great recognition of the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in accelerating the progress to universal health coverage and implementation of SDGs by 2030, said the Bangladesh mission.

On behalf of the Bangladesh Permanent Mission in New York, the resolution was facilitated by Dr Md Monwar Hossain, the deputy permanent representative.

The mission has been playing a key role in global health diplomacy over the last few years and as a continuation of its effort, this resolution was conceptualized and initiated by the mission earlier this year.

After four months of intensive negotiations among the member states, the resolution was adopted unanimously.