Women leaders improve business bottom lines
Dr Maliha Mannan Ahmed, the founder of Organikare, said women leaders can improve business bottom lines and productivity.
“Praava Health, Maya Apa, Moner Bondhu, Amarlab, PULSE, Dhaka Cast are led by women health techs. And they are showing how women can advance in this sector. It is growing evidence that having more women leaders improved businesses’ bottom lines and productivity,” she added.
She made the remarks as the session moderator of Health and Wellness on the first day of the International Women Entrepreneurs’ Summit 2022 in Dhaka on Wednesday.
The summit is being organized by the Bangladesh-India Business Council (BIBC) in collaboration with the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) and the Association of Fashion Designers of Bangladesh (AFDB).
“Bangladesh’s health industry is estimated to be worth approximately $7 billion, and 65% of it is covered by private sectors. We have over 5,000 hospitals and more than 9,500 diagnostics centres,” she noted.
She further added that there are a total of 55,000 hospital beds in public hospitals and 95,000 beds are provided by private hospital services.
“Women’s participation in the healthcare industry exceeds that of all other sectors. A total of 65% of women are doctors, nurses, midwives, and community health workers,” Dr Maliha Mannan Ahmed said.
In the session on “Health and Wellness” the other panelists said there are endless investment opportunities in the health sector of Bangladesh.
According to them, healthcare workforce needs to increase, facilities should be improved, an information system should be invested in, insurance should be implemented, medical devices should be manufactured, clinical health needs should be met, and so on.
The panelists also discussed medical tourism, foreign investment opportunities, and challenges as well as how to replicate the successful programs of the NGO’s.
Keynote presenter Dr Bushra Alam, senior health specialist for the Health Nutrition and Population Global Practice of the World Bank, said: “We should know about the health landscape. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines this as the complete physical and mental wellbeing.”
“When it comes to physical well-being, we all look into it. But what about mental wellness? That is the topic of today’s discussion. Some attach it to taboo but we pretend to hide and put it under the carpet.”
Women are really bringing about changes in healthcare services in Bangladesh, not only in health, in education, in technology and also in different other areas, she said.
“But only 7.2% of all businesses are owned by women in Bangladesh. We want to see equality because women-led industries ensure safety and security for other women,” she noted.
Zahida Fizza Kabir, chief executive officer of SAJIDA Foundation, said: “We need to scale up our health care workforce, need more transparency and accountability when it comes to funding.”
Dr Rumana Dowla, chairperson of Bangladesh Palliative And Supportive Care Foundation, said: “We see women working in the health sector; various types of enterprises are joining this industry as well. But we are not addressing palliative care, which is a very important part that needs more work. People of Bangladesh need this service.”
She further added: “Non-communicable diseases are increasing in our country like cancer. Also, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, diabetics and dementia are increasing too, and it is all deathly diseases.”
The panelists also talked about women-led startups driving the future of health technology, which is popularly known as FemTech.
They noted that more apps should be used in women-led startups.
The session was also joined by Lokman Hossain Miah, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Runa Khan, Founder and ED of Friendship, Arif Mahmud, director of Medical Services Evercare Hospital Bangladesh and Mousumi Islam, managing director of PROMIXCO Group.