Advancing Urban Health Strategies: Insights from BUHN 2nd Advisory Committee Meeting

Advancing Urban Health Strategies: Insights from BUHN 2nd Advisory Committee Meeting

The “2nd Advisory Committee Meeting” of the Bangladesh Urban Health Network (BUHN) convened on the 12th of December 2023, from 2.00 PM BST to 4.00 PM BST, via online through Zoom platform unveiling a strategic vision to empower urban health initiatives. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Md. Abdur Razzakul Alom (National Consultant, Unicef) Technical Support Team Member of BUHN, followed by a brief introduction of the participants. 

Dr. Margub Aref Jahangir, Technical Support Team Member of BUHN, initiated the session by presenting and securing approval for the minutes of the 1st Advisory Committee meeting. Dr. Shamim Hayder Talukder, BUHN's Member Secretary and CEO of Eminence, then offered a comprehensive overview of BUHN's progress and forthcoming activities.

The spotlight of the meeting fell on the critical realm of urban health, specifically its integration into the 5th Health and Nutrition Sector Program (5th HPNSP). Md. Azmal Hossain, Program Analyst - Urban Health at UNFPA, provided insights into the government's Operational Plan (OP), sparking discussions on the necessity for a thematic group to enhance communication with program personnel of ministry of Bangladesh. Mohammod Abdus Sabur, Chairman of Ad-din Medical Trust, and Mohammad Nora Alam Siddique, Joint Secretary at LGRD&Co, provided valuable insights, emphasizing the significance of dedicated desks, budget increments, and specific organograms at Pourosova and City Corporation levels. As discussions delved into the incorporation of over 100 primary healthcare centers into the 5th HPNSP, Dr. Margub Aref Jahangir underscored the importance of BUHN's proactive role in coordinating meetings with the coordination committee of the urban health wing of DGHS planning division. The proposed activity plan for BUHN spanning 2024-2025, took center stage with notable suggestions including the formation of a sub-committee for information dissemination and coordinated engagement with government projects. Dr. Abu Jamil Faisel, Chairman & Treasurer of Health 21, pointed the multidimensional nature of urban health strategies and urged positive participation in the dynamics of government projects. Prof. Dr. Shah Monir Hossain, President of BNCDF, emphasized the coordination between the Ministry of Local Government and Health and proposed a presentation on the Operational Plan (OP) for the next meeting. Dr. Md. Mahmudul Hasan, representing Concern Worldwide, Bangladesh, EC member of BUHN highlighted the imperative to ensure a comprehensive program for urban slum dwellers and pavement people, emphasizing the quality of life for these vulnerable populations.

The meeting concluded with pivotal decisions, advocating technical assistance within ministries, the establishment of a sub-committee bridging government and BUHN initiatives, and engaging thematically aligning with the Operational Plan (OP) of 5th HPNSP. As BUHN paves the way for its active commitment in the year 2024, the strategic insights gained in this session may propel the organization towards an empowered vision for urban health, fostering collaborative partnerships and impactful interventions.