I visited Bangladesh last December (2011) for 10 days to visit our projects. The hospital training center and dormitory is almost complete, with the scheduled grand opening for April this year. Accompanying me on this trip were Dr. Vidya Sharma, professor of pediatrics from the University of Missouri who is also head of International Health and leader of many projects in India and Africa. This is her first visit to Bangladesh with the hope of establishing grassroots healthcare projects in collaboration with Hope Foundation. Our mission to educate the local people of Bangladesh in easily preventable healthcare problems such as low Vitamin D and rickets continues with the support of people like Dr. Sharma.
Also with me on the trip were a team from California from a group called Mobile Medic, who are trying to set up a system of healthcare for people in isolated rural areas by the use of cell phones to communicate with the hospital. This is an exciting new development that will help our new Village Nurse graduates to administer healthcare direct to patients with the backup of the hospital that is usually too far away for the patient to visit. This will help rural women to get regular checkups during pregnancy to prevent mothers and babies dying from birthing complications since the costs of travelling to the hospital is too much for them. This is also a very low cost way of delivering healthcare since the Village Nurses are local women and their costs are far less than paying a doctor to do home visits.
I met with our Village Nurse graduates who are now employed in various clinics. The graduates from the island of Moheshkhali are now helping our Mothers' Club members in their neighboring villages. Empowering and educating women is an enormous benefit towards the education and improvement of the health of the entire community.
During my trip a 10 bed Rehab unit was set up to provide services to the paralyzed, injured and recovering patients who come to the hospital for occupational and physical therapy. The disabled and paralyzed people in Bangladesh are usually neglected since the country is poor and cannot provide for everyone. Our partnership with KDM, a French rehab. specialist organization has been giving much need therapy to local people since 2010.
Our goal to provide a permanent cafeteria/canteen in the hospital continues and plans are being put in place to do this as soon as the training center is complete. The training center will be a hub for training, meetings, conferences and many events that will require on-site food services that can help the canteen be self-sufficient and also provide free food to the poor patients in the hospital.
My trip ended with several meetings in the capital, Dhaka, with major aid organizations and NGO's. These partnerships will help to continue our mission and vision to help the poor and suffering people in Bangladesh.