16/11/2011: PID Daily News Brief

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked the concerned authorities to be careful about the treatment of the poor patients and ensure that none is deprived of healthcare services due to financial hardship. She said this while a teachers' delegation of Dhaka Medical College (DMC) Alumni Trust led by DMC Principal Prof Deen Mohammad called on the Prime Minister at her office. She mentioned that her government during its previous tenure had undertaken a plan to construct around 18,000 community clinics across the country. Referring to her government's stride to ensure healthcare service for every citizen, she said, "I personally wish that each division of the country has a medical university". She mentioned the UN Secretary General's appreciation of the success of Bangladesh in women and child health. She said the people of the country would have benefited if the community clinics were constructed in due time. She also said "after coming to power this time we have revived the projects and constructed a total of 11,000 clinics to ensure medicare services for women and children in rural areas of the country,". She said her government made a provision for Tk 50 million for treatment of the poor patients when Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) was founded during the previous AL administration. The fund has now been raised to Tk 80 million, she added.

President Zillur Rahman has expressed hope that the United Nations would take positive initiatives to recognise Bangla as one of its official languages showing respect to 300 million Bengali-speaking people around the world. He also mentioned that Sheikh Hasina like her father recently delivered her speech in Bangla at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly held on October 24, 2011. The President said this while addressing a special convocation of Dhaka University arranged to confer Degree of Laws (Honoris Causa) upon UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He also expressed hope that the world would be free from war and conflict through dialogue under the able and dynamic leadership of Ban Ki-moon. “It’s heartening to note that you’ve taken initiatives to resolve the pressing issues and I welcome you for the sincere endeavours,” he said. Ban Ki-moon was rendering his relentless efforts for protecting world peace and civilisation, he also said. The president mentioned that it was a matter of pride that despite having small geography many talented people of Bangladesh were contributing both to national and international arena by their mental and physical works. He said that Bangladesh was also working towards attaining women empowerment, poverty eradication, food security, women and child healthcare, women education, ensuring social justice and establishing the rule of law. He said that Bangladesh had closely been working with the UN and providing full support to the UN Charter since her membership in 1974. “We feel proud of having worked with the UN.” He also congratulated UN chief for the assumption of the office of secretary general of the UN for the second consecutive time.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday urged both the ruling and opposition parties to come forward to make parliament more functional. “Bangladesh also faces the challenge of ensuring that its parliament can function as it is meant to do in a democratic society,” he said while addressing a special convocation of Dhaka University (DU). He pointed out that Bangladesh struggles with issues involving exploitation and abuse of females. These crimes go unpunished very often, he urged all to fight against such violations of human rights. About Bangladesh's contribution to UN peacekeeping, he said, “You are the world's top contributor to UN peacekeeping. One in every ten peacekeepers around the world is a Bangladeshi.” He also said Bangladesh's pioneering work with microcredit has transformed the lives of the poor worldwide. He stressed the need for the Bangladesh government to invest in people in an intelligent manner especially in women and children which will help the country to attain sustainable human development. He would discuss ‘as time comes’ the appointment of more Bangladesh officials in the top positions of UN peacekeeping assignments, he said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday said that the UN is ready to provide technical and logistic support to help conduct the next general elections in a credible and transparent manner, “This is your system. This is your choice,” the UN chief said responding to a question about the scrapping of the caretaker government system for holding national elections and the main opposition party's decision not to take part in the elections except under a caretaker government. He said this while addressing a press conference hotel in the city. He expressed the hope that all differences of opinion among political parties and stakeholders should be resolved harmoniously and peacefully through dialogue. He recalled that the UN sent experts and gave logistic support to make the 2008 parliamentary polls fair. “Since 2008, Bangladesh has made progress towards democracy, but more needs to be done,” he added.

Bangladesh government and the United Nations would jointly invest more to ensure healthcare of children, adolescents and mothers in the country. "Having a healthy mother and having a healthy baby can help build a good nation," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday said while exchanging views with a group of mothers at Mobarakpur village in Kulaura Upazila. Exchanging views with the women, he said Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in providing healthcare to the poor including mothers and children. He mentioned that the UN has given top priority to improving the health of mothers and children. He appreciated the activities of the community clinics to ensure healthcare for the people and lauded the role of the government, community people and NGOs in this regard.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said Bangladesh wants the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation to make a 'clearly-marked' forward journey since it sees the 19-nation grouping 'a vehicle for a qualitative impact on people's lives.' "We are now at the threshold of the 15th anniversary of our association next year. This should allow us for an imaginative discussion on future directions of the association," she pointed out in her statement at the 11th meeting of the council of ministers of the IOR-ARC in Bangalore yesterday. She said with the population of about two billion, technological abilities, and rich minerals, marines and agricultural resources, the Indian Ocean Rim offers 'enormous' opportunity for the IOR-ARC members 'to enhance trade and investment.' She also said the potentials of Indian Ocean Rim are 'immense' and IOR-ARC must serve as active agent of change towards the betterment of people's lives.