In rural Bangladesh where the condition of medical facilities is still not up to the mark and hence thwarts many people to have access to treatment, wife of a poor day-labourer Laila Begum of Khulna has experienced an optimistic way of having medical care through the community health clinic.
An inhabitant of Rupsha upazila of the country’s south-eastern Khulna district Laila went through an ordeal when she was out of treatment after falling prey to stomach illness a few days back. Last couple of days were agonising time for her as she was suffering from acute stomach pain. The underserved lady was facing dearth of money for her treatment in a private clinic, but as the pain worsens, her husband took her to nearby Durjoni Mohol Community Clinic.After getting treatment, Laila and her husband Maznu Mian remained grateful to the community clinic authority.
Not only Laila, many women and children are getting free treatment and free medicines from the community clinics across the country. The clinics have become a blessing for the people especially for women and children. Considering the picture of grim facts, there is a need of new practices and procedures to ensure timely healthcare reaches the deprived population of villages.
As per the records, in Khulna district, there are a total of 203 community clinics that have become popular among the commoners. The clinics not only provide primary treatment to the needy but also expands the services by appointing one medical officer in each clinic.
Another woman of the area, fifty-three-year-old Ayesha Begum visited the Durjoni Mohol Community Clinic frequently. She has a number of health complications like back pain and weakness.
Ayesha said, “I visited the clinic two times a month. Besides, every member of my family visits the clinic for treatment. We are also getting many medicines free of cost from here. This is really a blessing for us. I would like to extend my thanks to our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as we are getting the health facilities in our door-steps free of cost for her.”
Rafiza Khanom visited the clinic along with her five-year old boy Rasul. He was suffering from fever and cough in the last few days, and his mother looked happy after getting treatment and medicine free of cost from the clinic.Rafiza said, “My husband is a rickshaw-puller. He is the only earning member in the family. We have also two daughters and my father-in-law and mother-in-law in the family. All members of my family often visit the clinic for medical facilities.”
Assistant Health Inspector of Aichgati union Syed Mizanur Rahman said that people can be cured if they are aware of the health problems. Most patients who visit the clinic, are women, he added.
Khulna Civil Surgeon Dr ASM Abdur Razzak said that the Community Clinic is one of the 10 initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “Community Clinic is a brain child of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to expand primary health care services to the doorsteps of people throughout the country, especially in rural areas,” he added.
Health Engineering Department (HED) Khulna Information Officer and Assistant Engineer (Civil) Shebok Mondol said at present there are about 209 community clinics in Khulna district, while construction works of 17 completely new model clinics continue. Of them, four have already been completed.
On the other hand, the Community Clinic Health Support Trust launched a guideline on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for community clinics in the country few months ago.
The WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) guideline marked the initiation of changing the WASH facilities in community clinics as a standard for community level health service providers to improve quality health services.
Despite many good efforts, the major challenges in the healthcare sector in rural areas are low quality of care, lack of awareness, and limited access to facilities.