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  • Writer's pictureSaeed Anwar Anuj

Genetic services in Bangladesh: current scenario and challenges

Genetic services are an essential aspect of modern healthcare that plays a crucial role in preventing and managing genetic disorders. It involves providing information and support to individuals and families at risk or who have a family history of inherited conditions. In Bangladesh, genetic counseling is still in its nascent stage and faces various challenges in its implementation.

In Bangladesh, only a few facilities offer genetic services. There is a shortage of trained genetic counselors, and most healthcare providers are unfamiliar with genetic disorders and how to provide genetic counseling. This is particularly true in rural areas, where access to healthcare is limited, and knowledge about genetic disorders is limited. The lack of awareness about the importance of genetic counseling is also a significant challenge. As a result, many people are unaware of the options available to them and do not seek out genetic counseling when they need it.

One of the major challenges in implementing genetic counseling services in Bangladesh is the lack of awareness and understanding of genetic disorders. A significant portion of the population is unaware of the existence of genetic disorders and their modes of transmission. This lack of awareness often results in the underdiagnosis and mismanagement of such conditions, leading to adverse health outcomes.

Another challenge is the need for more trained personnel. The majority of healthcare providers in Bangladesh need more knowledge and training in genetic counseling and genetic testing. This shortage of trained professionals limits the availability of genetic services in the country, making it difficult for individuals and families to access them.

Infrastructure is another critical challenge in implementing genetic services in Bangladesh. The country lacks the necessary infrastructure to effectively diagnose and manage genetic disorders, including advanced medical equipment, specialized clinics, and research centers. This lack of infrastructure results in the mismanagement of genetic conditions, leading to negative health outcomes for patients.

Financial constraints are also a significant challenge in implementing genetic counseling services in Bangladesh. The high cost of genetic testing and counseling services, coupled with low levels of health insurance coverage, make it difficult for individuals and families to access these services. The government and private sector must work together to make genetic counseling services more accessible and affordable to the general population.

Additionally, there is a growing concern about the presence of scammers in the country who offer fake genetic diagnoses and counseling services. These individuals take advantage of individuals who are desperate for information about their genetic health and deceive them into paying for services that are not only ineffective but also potentially harmful. This fraud issue is a significant challenge for the implementation of genetic services in Bangladesh, as it undermines individuals' trust in the medical profession and in genetic counseling services.

Saeed Anwar

Edmonton, Canada

Reference: Hosen, M.J., Anwar, S., Taslem Mourosi, J. et al. Genetic counseling in the context of Bangladesh: current scenario, challenges, and a framework for genetic service implementation. Orphanet J Rare Dis 16, 168 (2021).

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