Bangladesh: saving lives in hard-to-reach communities
This week I went to see the sites where we plan to build health clinics funded by the Build it for Babies Appeal.
It’s hard to fully understand what it means to live out of reach of services like healthcare until you actually try and access the communities yourself.
Two of the three clinic sites can only be accessed by boat, with long distances on foot required either end. To visit each one we had to use at least three modes of transport and I have to admit I was exhausted after all of them.
One of our sites in Badalpur is based in the northern-most border of Habiganj district, where all our clinics are being built.
Shefali Das lives here and when Save the Children met Shefali in January she was seven months pregnant and had already had three miscarriages.
To get from her home to the closest healthcare facility to monitor her pregnancy, it would take her three hours of walking in the baking sun, a boat ride and the use of a rickshaw.
Shefali’s community are poor rice farmers who can’t afford the journey to the nearest health clinic and in January, it seemed like the chance that Shefali would have to go through yet another miscarriage was very high.
We revisited Shefali in June to find out how the delivery had gone. It was great to see her come out of her home holding a bundle that she soon informed us was three-month-old Orbana.
Safe and healthy
Orbana was born safe and healthy at Ajmeriganj hospital, thanks to the support of family welfare assistants and paramedics who visited and monitored Shefali’s condition because she was a high-risk pregnancy.
When Shefali went into labour with Orbana, her family became concerned as she was taking a very long time to deliver.
They called the paramedic who had been looking after Shefali during her pregnancy, who told them that if she didn’t get to the hospital there was a very high risk of another miscarriage.
The paramedic told the family to wait for a Save the Children-funded water ambulance which would take Shefali to hospital and ensure the journey there was as safe for mother and child as possible.
The ambulance transported Shefali to Ajmeriganj where she gave birth to Orbana.
Family welfare assistants have also been back to visit and vaccinate Orbana to ensure she is given the protection she needs to grow up healthy.
Save the Children in Bangladesh works with the family welfare assistants and paramedics to provide the life-saving assistance desperately needed in these poor and remote communities in north-east Bangladesh.