Municipalities to respond to the WASH and health needs of the citizens

9 Apr 2016

A policy dialogue titled "Liveable Cities, Healthy Citizens: How can City Governments Improve Urban Health?" participated by Mayors, Councillors and professionals from over fifty municipalities explored the role of municipalities to respond to the WASH and health need of the citizens.

The policy dialogue chaired by PPRC Executive Chairman Hossain Zillur Rahman, came up with some recommendation including emphasising provision of sanitation and safe drinking water, facilitating open space for physical exercise, controlling mosquito, maintaining proper sewerage system, stopping food adulteration, and waste management to improve urban health rather than providing direct treatment.

Two good practices from the Piakgacha and Shakhipur Municipality Mayors were discussed in the dialogue as example. Paikgacha Municipality Mayor shared pipe-line water supply and progressive water tariff issues and Shakhipur Municipality Mayor talked on Feacal Sludge Management (FSM) and related issues.

Emphasising decentralisation of health service, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, said centralised treatment services could not help ensuring improved treatment. Proper sanitation and safe water supply could prevent many diseases in the country.

"There are many responsibilities within the purview of municipalities under the Local Government (municipality) Act-2009 for providing health service, but no allocation is being made to facilitate it," said Dr Bushra Alam, senior health specialist of World Bank in Dhaka.

Dr Md Khairul Islam, country representative of WaterAid Bangladesh, suggested the Mayors and Councillors not to be dependent on health projects only and take initiatives in this connection locally. He also cited that different cities would need different approach to improve urban health and that needs to be incorporated in their respective masterplan.

City corporations and municipalities should come up with innovative initiatives for providing public health service with participation of residents and government should provide necessary budget to implement them, said Mr. Rahman.

The policy dialogue was jointly organised by Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB) and WaterAid Bangladesh in the capital's Local Government Engineering Department's auditorium on 9 April 2016. Apart from over fifty municipalities, representatives from various development partners and civil society organisations including Asian Development Bank (ADB), The World Bank, JICA, Bangladesh Urban Forum (BUF), World Vision, IRG, Gonoshasthya Kendra contributed in the dialogue.

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