The visitors included:
- Md. Ekramul Haque Titu, Rt. Hon. Mayor, Mymensingh Municipality
- Jyotirmay Dutta , Additional Secretary (Urban Development) , Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government Rural Development and Cooperative
- Bashudev Ganguly , Additional Secretary (Admin), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- Md. Huzur Ali, Senior Assistant Chief, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- Azam Ali, Team Leader UHSSP
Our visitors used the trip to familiarise themselves with good practices in urban health planning, stakeholder mapping and engagement, community involvement and developing social safety nets for vulnerable communities.
We started the week by visiting Southampton University where the Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty & Policy hosted a series of interesting presentations and discussions on urban health issues including those concerning Bangladesh. We were able to share insights from our own programme and explore potential areas of future cooperation with the University.
The following day we had useful discussions and presentations at our office, looking at areas of cooperation between UHSSP and municipalities.
We took the opportunity to visit Tower Hamlets, which has the largest Bangladesh population in the UK as well as being one of the most deprived areas in London. Here we met with Dr Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health for Tower Hamlets who explained how the NHS operates and is funded. This was particularly interesting to our officials given the size and complexity of the service and the importance of harmonisation, something the UHSSP programme is focussing on.
After lunch we paid a visit to the Albion Health Centre in Whitechapel where Dr Rashid Haroon showed us around the facility and gave a good overview of primary health care services in the UK. It was interesting for our visitors to see a GP surgery in operation and take some ideas back home.
They were very interested in how the health system is so digitised, wanting to know more about online referrals and collections of prescriptions, which make the system more time efficient. Health Information Management System (HMIS) is a key area of focus for UHSSP in its three pilot facilities, an area fully supported by the officials.
The study tour was wrapped up with a final session on how the learnings of the week could be applied to our programme in Bangladesh and commitments on continuing our work together on UHSSP.
The officials were very thankful to Options for organising the tour, stating that UHSSP was the go to project for urban health in Bangladesh and urging us to scale-up our initiatives into other cities.