Parliamentarians for better healthcareOct 10, 2013
The Improving Democracy through Parliamentary Development (IPD) Project of UNDP as part of its envisaged outcome that Parliamentary committees are able to effectively scrutinize executive actions, review public policy and the expenditure of public funds and take parliament to the people provided support to the Committee to conduct the field visits and the public consultations.
The IPD project which is being implemented in partnership with the Bangladesh Parliament Secretariat has three other major outputs. These are; Parliament is supported by an independent, capable and service oriented secretariat; the Speaker and Members of Parliament have the necessary support and resources to effectively undertake their respective roles and responsibilities; and Parliament is able to effectively engage with the people of Bangladesh.
Professor Md. Ali Ashraf, MP, the Chair of the Committee together with Honourable. B.M Muzammel Haque, MP and Honourable Ms. Rasheda Begum Hira, MP, attended the field visits and public consultations at Chailakel Community Clinic at Jaintapur and South Mirerchar Community Clinic at Biswanath in Sylhet District; Kejurichara Community Clinic and Lakhaichara Community Clinic in Moulvibazar District. Secretariat officials together with IPD team members also participated in the field visit.
At each visit and consultation the Committee Chair opened the event by explaining the purpose of the activity. He said, “The people have the right to know what happens in Parliament and what are the outcomes of the decisions taken in the House and what is the status of the assurances made by Ministers in the House.”
During the visit clinic staff pointed out the need for more medicines to be made available in order to tackle the growing healthcare needs of the local community. In addition the citizens also stressed the need to have the services of a graduate physician to attend the clinics at least on a weekly basis.
At Kejurichara Community Clinic in Moulvibazar, the district civil surgeon declared that from now on one graduate physician from the Upazilla Health Complex would attend patients at this clinic once a week. Now three staff members trained in healthcare are working at each of the clinics.
Honourable Rasheda Begum Hira MP, who belongs to the main Opposition party in Parliament and is a Committee Member, said the health condition of the working mothers in the rural community is generally vulnerable. She requested the clinic counselor to advise the local men not to impose the responsibility for contraception solely on the women.
One of the major achievements from the field visits is that the Committee now fully appreciates the importance of overseeing the implementation of public policies at the grassroots level. In that way the Committee can better assess both the provision and quality of services at the point of delivery to the citizenry.
In terms of the benefits of civic engagement, the members of the local community stated that they had little idea or understanding about the role and functions of the Parliament. But the fact that the elected representatives of the people came to the local community in order to better understand how the community clinics operate, helped foster a better understanding about the work of the Parliament. The local citizens stressed the importance of continuing such important outreach activities by the Parliament.