August 17, 2022, 6:49 am

Abu Taher Bappa

2019-11-13 17:01:23 BdST

Dhaka to host 2nd int’l symposium on community health workers Nov 22-24

The second international symposium on community health workers (CHWs) will be held in the city on November 22-24 with about 500 participants from more than 35 countries to share practical knowledge and experience about CHWs related policy and programmes.

The theme of the symposium is ‘Potentials of Community Health Workers in Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the Context of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

icddr,b in collaboration with the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Government of Bangladesh; James P. Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH) and Save the Children, Bangladesh is organising the event.

Organisers made the announcement at a press conference at the DGHS on Tuesday.

The symposium is supported by the USAID, European Union, UKaid, MSH, Vital Strategies, BRAC, UNICEF, UNFPA, and WHO.

Additional Director General (Admin), DGHS Prof Dr Nasima Sultana shared the background of the symposium.

She said the community health workers are unsung heroes and have been a powerful workforce in promoting health services around the world.

“Informally originated in China in the 1920s, they were initially engaged in birth and death registration, vaccination, providing basic health education and first-aid services. Presently, the CHWs are considered as ‘alternative solutions’ and has received increased attention in many LMICs including Bangladesh.”

She also spoke about the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries including in Bangladesh.

Scientist and Project Director SHARE Project, Health Systems and Population Studies Division, icddr,b Dr. Iqbal Anwar presented the historical aspects of community health workers and the past symposium.

The theme further expanded to four subthemes - CHWs programmes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), CHWs and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), CHWs in special situation such as urban health care, disaster and climate change and humanitarian context; and CHWs programmes and prevention and control of NCDs.

Some 141 abstracts of 232 were selected for oral and poster presentation while 20 young participants from LMICs were selected for scholarship based on the merit of their abstract.

The symposium brings academics, health experts, development partners and other relevant professionals to a common platform to discuss about the successes and challenges with the CHWs.

These will also enable formulation of better strategic pathways of how CHWs can help communities to win the new fight against NCDs further to attain UHC and Sustainable Development Goal- 3 targets.

Prof. Dr. Md. Abul Hashem Khan, Line Director, Community Based Health Care (CBHC), DGHS, MOHFW, Professor Dr. Sabina Faiz Rashid, Dean JPGSPH, and Dr Farzana Islam, Project Director, Save the Children, Bangladesh and Dr. Samir Kanti Sarker, Ex- Line Director, MIS, DGHS were also present at the press conference.

The 1st International Symposium on CHWs was held in 2017 in Kampala, Uganda and has showcased the contribution of the CHW programmes across different areas of health related to sustainable development goals (SDGs).

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