Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in Asia. Due to its poor economic conditions, the citizens of the country have been suffering from serious health care industry problems for a long time. However, the health reforms of the past 18 years have improved the health status of people significantly. The reforms started in the recent years when the government initiated some policy improvement, particularly aimed at raising the standards of living and health status of the population. The improvements emanated from various strategies and approaches that would positively affect the condition of the people. Among these strategies were access to safe water supply, good sanitation, education, and poverty reduction.
In fact, according to UNDP Report of 2014, Bangladesh’s HDI has increased by 0.558 value for 2013 that positioned its country to 142 out of 187 countries. With the said improvement, Bangladesh’s life expectancy at birth has also upgraded by 5.8 years because of health programs of the government (UNDP, 2014).
Considering the health sector, the government merely relies on donations given by stakeholders. In 2006, a large percentage of the health sector expenditures came from donors like households, government, employers, and others. These donor programs for the health sector were initiated by the reforms made in the same year. This decision was attributed to the undeveloped Health Care Financing by the government. Consequently, the sources of funds for the health care services were sporadic, which led to the development of the cumulative budget for the said sector. Also, the health care insurance approach is still being reviewed because of the insufficient resources to support the health services (BBC News, 2015).
Among the many issues of Bangladesh, the spread of the HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria are among the most serious ones. The country has been one of the most affected by the said diseases in the past years, encompassing many victims regardless of gender, age, geographical, and socio-economic status of the population. The low level of education was one of the sources of the increased cases of victims of such diseases along with the tendency to be promiscuous. Also, the access to contraceptives and other intervening techniques or methods has worsened the health situation in the country.
Gender and economic status are factors contributing to the existing inequality in the delivery of health services to the people. In most developing countries, the gravity of the health care issues is worsened by the unfair treatment and implementation of health care programs. There is a direct link between gender and economic status in the health care status of the people. Women tend to be deprived of health care benefits in poor nations. However, women require additional protection by health care systems as compared to men. Pregnancy, taking care of children, and other obligations that are usually given to women would make them vulnerable if not protected by any health care services or insurance.
Programs about reproductive health and free access to methods and resources that would give women the right to decide and take care of themselves and their children should be formulated by the government. Unfortunately, it is noticeable that women in developing countries are vulnerable to health care issues because of the insufficient policy or programs that would protect them.
Specifically, the increase in the number of patients with TB in poor countries like Bangladesh would usually come from low-income families. In addition, women have no free access to medical and health services from the hospitals and health care organizations. As mentioned, financing is one of the most serious problems in developing countries. The government cannot afford to implement a policy or program that would protect the women and poor people for free. In connection, insurance policies would certainly alleviate the conditions of women and the poor and equalize their status with other sectors of the society. The government has to formulate health reforms to address these factors that tend to worsen inequality (Anderson, n.d.).
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The lack of sex education and the increase of sexual activity among teenagers is being ignored by such countries as Bangladesh, which has led to the spread of STDs. A study was conducted correlating sex education with the spread of STDs has proven that sex education is one possible solution. The main task of the study was to validate the significance of sex education to the initiation of sexual activity of teenagers. At the same time, it should be noted that the implementation of sex education in the United States has been a controversial issue because of the common perception that it would become the main cause of initiation to sexual intercourse by teenagers. There is a public assumption that sex education would only worsen the increase in the number of pregnant teenagers. The study was a result of the alarming rates of teenage pregnancy and spread of AIDS in the United States. The hypothesis of the study is that sex education would bring heightened awareness to teenagers about pregnancy and the diffusion of AIDS virus through sexual intercourse. In effect, this would reduce the rates of teenage pregnancy and AIDS victims in the country (Kohler, Manhart, & Lafferty, 2007).
To test the hypothesis, the researchers conducted a survey among adolescents aging from 15-19 years old who were heterosexual. The study correlated the impact of sex education on the health conditions and sexual activities of the respondents. As a result, respondents who were subjected to comprehensive sex education had lesser tendency to become pregnant than those who were not introduced to sex education. The researchers concluded that sex education does not contribute to the increase in cases of AIDS victims and teenage pregnancy. In fact, teenagers who have formal education in sex education have become more aware of their sexual capabilities and responsible towards sex (Kohler, Manhart, & Lafferty, 2007).
Certainly, Bangladesh is also encountering the increase of sexual activity of teenagers because of the influence of western countries. It results in the increased chances of acquiring STDs or AIDs since there is a low level of awareness about the consequences of sexual promiscuity. For that matter, Bangladesh should find ways to at least increase the level of awareness of the younger population to reduce the percentage of people with such diseases.
Health reforms are essential to alleviate the health status of the population. In fact, most rich countries today are giving enough attention to their health care insurance and health care policies because of the worsening health care issues in the world. In today’s context, the issue of health insurance policy has been intertwined with the issue of poverty. Those who greatly benefit from the health care insurance system have been alleviated from the impoverished conditions while many have worsened because of inadequate treatment by health insurance companies of their clients. It is speculated that health insurance policy greatly contributes to the alleviation as well as worsening of the economic conditions of the people. An effective health care insurance system ought to consider certain criteria such as equity, the ability to alleviate the poor sector of the society and the amount of package that the beneficiaries would receive (Northwest Health Law Advocates, 2009).
Indeed, health care plan is important for the poor, women, spouses, children and disabled that ought to be considered by a universally applied insurance mechanism. It proves that a health care insurance system is quite beneficial to the general population. In fact, it is noticeable that most people in the low-income sector are dependent on the health care insurance with regards to their health needs. In connection, most developing countries should adopt a universal health plan with one payer system because of the overwhelming benefits that the recipients would obtain from such health care mechanism (Altom & Churchill2007).
For instance, the government of Bangladesh should address the said health issues by adopting the WHO guidelines, which is in line with the vertical approach. The health program should conduct child vaccination through the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). According to the said program, children are given immunization to fight the different kinds of diseases such as TB, diphtheria, influenza type b (DPT-HepB-Hib), pertussis, tetanus/hepatitis B/Haemophilis, and the like (World Health Organization, 2015). In relation, the World Bank announces that the Health Nutrition and Population Sector Program (HNPSP) Project for Bangladesh will increase further and would center on improved hospital services and nutritional services. Grants were given to the said country by various partners through World Bank from USD 335,000,000 to USD 387,983,352 to be used in health projects such as vaccines, contraceptives and others (World Bank, 2015). Consequently, from 1990-2010, there were tremendous decreased in the spread of such diseases based on the data on the causes of death, which state as follows:
Causes of death in Bangladesh from 1990-2010
- Diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, meningitis, and other common infectious diseases – from 268.3 to 65.2
- TB – from 29.6 to 18
- Nutritional deficiencies- from 43.3 to 10.6
- Chronic respiratory diseases 76.4 to 58.5 (World Health Organization, 2015).
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Preventing the spread of the diseases can have a positive impact on the health situation of the people of Bangladesh. The fundamental assumption is that sex education and the enhancement of awareness about the prevention of the spread of STDs can bring hope to the people that would eventually create positive effects to the economy. AIDS and other STDs create despair and frustrations while education gives hope and inspiration to the people. Moreover, the formulation of effective health programs would be very helpful to the people of Bangladesh that would eventually uplift the economy of the country.