The United Kingdom and Bangladesh have jointly launched a new research program aimed at strengthening the mental health care activities of the people of Bangladesh. The project began with a virtual program jointly by the British think tank Chatham House and Imperial London College. The keynote speaker was Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and Cyma Wajed Putul, daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Called ‘Mind First’ or Mind First Research Partnership, this bilateral joint venture will operate based on several researched data. The project aims to make it possible to play a more integrated and effective role in people’s mental health services by using Bangladesh’s holistic medicine or health care system. The project is being led by Imperial College.
The virtual event involved senior officials from Bangladesh and British governments and experts in the field of mental health. How integrated development is possible in the mental health care sector of Bangladesh with the help of various organizations including the UK; Speakers expressed their views on the occasion.
Professor Mala Rao of the School of Public Health at Imperial College is leading the project. He said the top institutions of Britain and Bangladesh will work together to make this bilateral project called Mind First a success. We are very honest to implement this project. ‘
Professor Mala Rao hopes that the project will create a meaningful opportunity to ensure mental health services for every person in Bangladesh. He said that Kovid 19 has a devastating effect on the mental health sector around the world this year. This project will make a major contribution to the mental health care sector in the coming years. He also said that Bangladesh has already made promising progress in the field of mental healthcare.
Cyma Wajed Putul, Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Neurodevelopment Disorders, Autism and Mental Health in Bangladesh, presented the current state of mental health care in Bangladesh and her plan to take the sector forward. “The issue of mental health has now become a global challenge, which cannot be ignored,” he said. As part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, all countries are committed to achieving UHC by 2030. There can be no health without mental health, and without health, sustainable development is not possible. ‘
Speaking on the occasion, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatron Dixon said that while mental health care is neglected, it is very important worldwide. The coronal period has a negative impact on people’s lives in terms of mental health. He hoped that the UK-Bangladesh joint venture would play an integrated and practical role in mental health care of the people of Bangladesh.
Sameera Jenny and Stephen Armstrong, executive director of the Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation, Manira Rahman, also spoke on the occasion.
In particular, the project is being funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UK RI) Global Challenge Research Fund. ICCDRB of Bangladesh, Innovation for the Wellcome Foundation, JPGSPH and BRAC University as well as Chatham House, East London NHS Foundation Trust and University of Lincoln in the UK will work on the joint project.
Panna Ahmed, who is currently involved in mental health counseling for women and teenagers living in Luton, spoke to the Bengali Tribune on Friday about the project. He said that the ‘National Mental Health Strategy Formation Committee’ under the direction of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and under the leadership of Syma Wajed, has formulated a national strategy for mental health development. These initiatives are timely and important for mental health development. Now, if Britain works together with this strategy, it will play a big role for the country. In particular, if the women and mothers of the country are not mentally healthy, children, adolescents and the whole family will lose their overall health. Which is a major obstacle in the way of social development.