Community Based Health and Hygiene Programs: Over the years, Bangladesh has made significant improvement in health sector, both in terms of creating institutions and ensuring effective service delivery both in urban and rural areas. Private sector has also been a strong collaborator of government facilities and provisions.
Despite progress, yet many people lack access to health care facilities and services due to several reasons. One of the key reasons that keep many people out of the coverage is the lack of easy access to services. However, government services are cheaper but due to stringent management approach, rural and poor people feel less confident to try to avail services from government facilities. On the other hand, private services are highly expansive. In addition, this represents a unique situation for Muslim Aid to embark on establishing health care facilities to ensure quality health services at an affordable price or sometimes with no cost with a people-friendly management strategy. Moreover, given the commitment of Muslim Aid to support people’s development, it also aims to complement government efforts to achieve targets on health and sanitation through establishing healthcare facilities and expanding service provisions. Since 1996, Muslim Aid UK-Bangladesh Field Office (MABFO) has been implementing community based health care services. Broadly, the health care program of MABFO consists of community hospitals, WASH and nutrition as an integrated approach. The main objectives of community based health program are to ensure: (1) prevention and treatment of common illness; (2) reduction of reproductive health disorder and (3) improvement in child mortality and morbidity. Primarily, in terms of operational strategy, MABFO aims to deliver high quality, low cost health care services to some of the most vulnerable and isolated communities in Bangladesh.
Functioning Community Hospitals is an inititiative: Muslim Aid runs four Community hospitals in Mirpur (Dhaka), Kulaura (Moulvibazar), Pirojpur and Pabna of Bangladesh. Through the community hospitals, it provides essential health services (both primary and secondary) to the low income and disadvantaged population of the country.
The health care program of MABFO is consisting of community hospitals, WASH and nutrition. The community hospitals provide preventive, curative and primitive comprehensive services. The services include consultation, pathology, ECG, ultra-sonogram, emergency, surgery etc. Especial emphasis is giving on women and children. Muslim Aid-UK Bangladesh Field Office has taken initiatives to reduce child mortality and improve health. One of the main causes of child mortality is water borne diseases.
On the other hand, to reduce the incidence of water borne diseases, MABFO is working on safe water supply, sanitation and hygiene practices among targeted communities through WASH program.
Cleft Lips and Palate Operation in Muslim Aid’s Pabna Community Hospital, Pabna: A cleft lip and palate is a type of birth defect that affects the upper lip and roof of the palate. Unfortunately, according to study results most patients of cleft lip and palate are found from poor population. Each cleft lip and palate operation in our country costs BDT 40,000 to 50,000. In most cases, poor families of patients are unable to bear the cost and are forced to continue to live with sufferings.
Apart from this, people, particularly women, born with the defects are sometimes undermined and discriminated in the society for not having a normal look. In order to help the poor community Muslim Aid Pabna Community Hospital organized a ‘cleft surgery’ programme in August 2016 where it treated 40 patients free of costs. The team of surgeons was led by Professor Dr. Sajjad Khondokar, head of the Plastic Surgery Department, Dhaka Medical College. It is to be mentioned that during last 3 years, Muslim Aid Pabna Community Hospital organized 50 campaigns on cleft lip and palate treatment to encourage community people to address this health challenge and to motivate people not to discriminate people with cleft lips. By August 2016, Muslim Aid Pabna Community Hospital completed a total of 500 operations and this is considered by the CSOs, community people and doctors a record for any community hospital in treating cleft lips. This also represents Muslim Aid’s special contribution to the community and public health.
Health Campaign in Kulaura: Muslim Aid Community Hospital, Kulaura, Moulvibazar organized health camps in 19 primary schools and 10 secondary schools and colleges with over 7000 participants including students, teachers, school committee members and local community representatives. Health campaigns featured discussions on health & hygiene awareness; and free distribution of AmeriCares-USA’s donated items i.e., tooth brush, paste, body lotion, cream, shampoo, deworming tablet, mask, etc.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Installing more than 1000 tube wells. Developing water and sanitation facilities in communities and institutions every year. We consider women access and control over water use during selection.