It said the approach means every group and individual is mobilised to fight the scourge as the nation did in the 1971 War of Liberation
The Bangladesh Health Watch says the country needs a "whole of the society" approach to combat a crisis as large and complex as Covid-19.
The approach means every group and individual is mobilised to fight the scourge as the nation did in the 1971 War of Liberation, it said in a statement on Saturday.
This is sadly absent, said the citizens' platform for improved accountability of the country's healthcare system through evidence-based policy review and citizen feedback.
Explaining the approach, it said the government should reconstitute the different committees (such as the National Committee, Coordination Committee, and division, district and upazila committees) and bring in representatives of different sections of the society, including the civil society, NGOs, academics, media and private sector, for them to contribute and own the national efforts.
The government should facilitate formation of Covid-19 prevention committees in every village and para with the participation of different sections in the community, including union parishad members, women, teachers, imams and others, said the Bangladesh Health Watch.
It also said the government should immediately constitute a Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to advise the government on the best scientific strategy to deal with the emergency.
Other countries have such committees, and should include experts from all related disciplines, including public health, medicine, economics, business, social sciences, and communications, it added.
As for re-opening different sectors of the economy, it recommended a "zoning/cluster" approach. For example, choosing 10 districts with the lowest number of infections and observe the effects of opening those.
This, the citizens' platform said, would help the government find the best way forward with the least risk. It also recommended scientifically monitoring the effects of reopening on disease incidences so that any negative outcome can easily and immediately be tracked and attended to for making strategic changes.
It made several other recommendations, such as implementing and scaling up the 3Ts (Test, Trace and Treat), following basic health guidance such as universal use of face mask, strengthening primary healthcare centres at community clinic, union centres and upazila health complexes, and gradually increasing healthcare spending from the current 0.4 percent to 2.5 percent of the GDP in the next two to five years.