GUWAHATI, July 28: “At the heart of the process of strengthening community action is the empowerment of communities – their ownership and control of their own endeavours and intention,” stated Dr. Liaquat Ali, former vice chancellor, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences (BUHS) here on Thursday while addressing a workshop on “Community Engagement for Universal Health Coverage Delivery of Preventive Care & Quality Health Care” organised by Internal Quality Assurance Cell of the University of Science and Technology Meghalaya. Dr Ali also addressed a Faculty Development Programme on “Role of Teachers in Institution Building and Quality Delivery” at USTM.
Dr Liaquat Ali is a member of the expert group of regional and global leaders in PHC constituted by WHO SEARO. Currently, he is the chief scientist and advisor of Pothikrit Institute of Health Studies, Bangladesh.
Addressing the participants of the workshop, he said that community engagement focuses on ‘Universal Health Coverage’, ‘Preventive Care’ & ‘Quality Health Care’. He nicely explained the impact of Sociology on Health Sciences and also explained the reason behind the increasing number of suicidal cases and what measures should be taken. He also mentioned that the Government of India has permitted the Primary Health Care Drive in the Health System.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is not only about individual treatment services, but also includes population-based services such as public health campaigns, adding fluoride to water, controlling mosquito breeding grounds, among others. This is a change that is being demanded by patients and clients to move away from healthcare delivery that has often been hierarchical, provider-driven and depersonalised, toward increased involvement of patients in the direction of their own care. These demands include mechanisms for patients, family members and communities to influence health system interactions, design, and policy.
The types of problems addressed by community engagement include: behavioural, cultural and social conditions (such as vaccination during outbreak response, awareness on harmful products, exclusion, gender-bias, drunk-driving); health system determinants (such as access to appropriate and acceptable primary health care services, information and programs for communicable and non-communicable disease, new outlets for mental health services); prerequisites for health (such as unemployment, lack of housing, lack of water and sanitation projects, lack of access of girls to education, food security) and upstream driving forces (such as poverty, poor working conditions, climate change, environmental degradation, demographic change, rapid and unplanned urbanisation).
Earlier, delivering the welcome address, Dr. B. K. Das, Pro VC, USTM explained the importance of the topic of discussion and why we need community engagement. Dr. R. K. Sharma, Advisor, USTM also addressed the programme.