Saima describes mental health as truly a global challenge



Saima Wazed Hossain, Chairperson, Bangladesh National Advisory Committee on Neuro-development Disorders and Autism on Friday said mental health is truly a global challenge that can no longer be ignored as all countries have committed to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030.

“As part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda all countries have committed to achieve UHC by 2030. There can be no health without mental health and without health there can be no sustainable development,” she said, reports BSS.

She was giving the key-note speech at a virtual launch event of a new UK-Bangladesh research network led by Imperial aiming to help strengthen mental health services in Bangladesh, said a report of Imperial College London on its website.

Saima outlined the landscape for mental health and universal health coverage in Bangladesh and her vision for the future of mental health care.

The project is funded by Imperial’s award from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund.

Bangladeshi collaborators include iccdr,b, Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation, JPGSPH, BRAC University and UK partners include Chatham House, East London NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Lincoln.

The Mon Prothom-Mind First research partnership is carrying out several research studies to help strengthen services and integrate mental health into Bangladesh’s Universal Health Coverage.

The launch event, co-organised by Imperial and Chatham House brought together the research collaborators with government ministers, and senior officials and leaders from Bangladesh, UK and global institutions, health professions and UK funding organisations to discuss ways forward for mental health and Universal Health Care in Bangladesh.

Project lead, Professor Mala Rao, from Imperial’s School of Public Health, said: “Ahead of Word Mental Health day, we are absolutely delighted to have established the Mon Prothom, Mind First partnership with key institutions in Bangladesh and the UK.

“This partnership is an exciting opportunity to help develop ways for Bangladesh to achieve ‘mental health for all’ through embedding mental health as part of universal health coverage,” Mala Rao said.

“This is even more poignant this year with the global impact of Covid-19 on all our lives and we look forward to contributing to improving mental health care and developing our partnership and friendship over the coming years,” said the project lead.

Speaking at the event, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Robert Chatterton Dickson, said: “Mental health is a neglected emergency throughout the world, made much worse by the effects of the COVID pandemic on people’s lives.”

“I am very pleased to be part of this high level round table discussion on mental Health and Universal Health Coverage in Bangladesh. I hope it will give direction to develop a strong and inclusive mental health policy,” he said.

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