Bloomberg Philanthropies to fund Bangladesh to develop ‘Data for Health’

Bangladesh has been named as one of the 18 countries that will receive Bloomberg Philanthropies funding to develop new tools and systems to help gather accurate health information.

Published : 24 June 2016, 07:41 PM
Updated : 24 June 2016, 07:54 PM

This was part of its “Data for Health” initiative, launched in partnership with the government of Australia.

Additional Director General for health Prof Abul Kalam Azad told that the initiative would improve Bangladesh’s “ability to gather and analyse important public health data”.

This will also help make “informed decisions” on finding ways to help improve public health, he said, adding that the announcement was made on June 22.

India, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Ghana, Morocco, Myanmar, Peru, Indonesia, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Tanzania and Zambia are the other countries that have partnered with the $100 million initiative for the next four years.

According to Bloomberg, in each country, the Data for Health initiative is guided by government priorities, and focuses on finding innovative ways to help countries improve data collection and usage.

Once a country partnership is formed and priority areas have been collectively identified, two Data for Health-funded experts with experience in health data collection and analytics are provided to the government to support the work.

In addition to funding in-country staff, Data for Health shares global best practices by connecting country staff with global networks.

Prof Azad said in Bangladesh, they would focus on facilitating the establishment and functioning of an Office of the National Registrar for Births and Deaths, non-communicable diseases surveillance using technology and use of data for generating evidence.

In September 2014, a Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) related Steering Committee was formed in Bangladesh. In February 2015, the CRVS secretariat was established in the Cabinet division to make it operational.

Prof Azad, who is also a member of the Steering Committee, said their aim was to give a permanent ID to a child that he or she would use throughout life.

“That ID will make them automatically registered as voters when they are 18 years of age. There will be a day when we will not need to conduct a separate census for counting population; that will be when we have given an ID to all,” he said, adding that they were piloting this ID system at Kaliganj in the outskirts of Dhaka.

He said they would have detailed birth and deaths records without which they cannot “accurately target resources to prevent deaths and diseases”.