Key Stakeholder Message

Key Stakeholder Message

Dr. Md. Saidur Rahman

Team Leader; Model Urban Primary Health Care Clinics Project (Aalo clinic); Unicef Bangladesh

"Aalo Clinic" has emerged as a contact point to mitigate the need of primary health care of urban communities. While NGOs and ADB provided the primary healthcare for urban areas, in comparison to primary healthcare in cities, primary healthcare in rural areas is better organized. Given this, UNICEF, with their experts, have created a model to assist in primary health care in urban areas.

The model was developed in an alignment with some model clinics, such as Delhi's Mohalla Clinic, Thailand, and Delhi's Ayushman Clinic in order to show the government how the urban primary health care model functions, how it serves the urban community, particularly the marginalized population in the slum, and maternal and child health. In December-January of 2021, we introduced this model. We've implemented this model in six clinics across four city corporations, based on its incredible performance on meeting up people's needs and maintaining service quality. The government, as well as other stakeholders and development partners, who are involved in urban health, appreciated this model. There were a few clear explanations for selecting: the model has been successful in drawing attention from the customers due to the high caliber of service providers, upholding through ongoing training, as well as, the clinic is fully digitalized with free screening day services, free medication services and free laboratory services.

Though the ministry of health is mandated by the constitution to manage the health sector of Bangladesh, the urban primary healthcare is assigned to the ministry of local government. The lack of coordination between the local government and the Ministry of Health is the first issue identified in the National Urban Health Strategy 2020. The challenges, encountered by the urban health initiatives, were expressed as lack of coordination between local governments and the Ministry of Health, scarcity of space for urban health dispensaries, management of the rapid urbanization, addressing floating or migrant populations, referral systems to assess patients due to lack of resources, and increasing out of pocket expenses, and the dominance of private sector. In context to that, we are attempting to provide all necessary urban primary healthcare services in Aalo clinic, with the exception of vaginal deliveries alongside other services and usually refer to government hospitals if needed. To tackle the challenges, local governments and the Ministry of Health are collaborating to operate outpatient dispensaries under the name GOD to meet the challenge in urban sector. Additionally, as part of the 5th Health Population and Nutrition Sector Program (5th HPNSP), they are working to create an Operational Plan based on the Aalo Clinic model, to decide whether to upgrade GOD or adopt this model. If the government, particularly MOH, incorporates these types of models into their strategic plans, it will benefit urban people who have not been served in a long time.