Sustainable Health Services for Isolated Populations in Bangladesh
Started in March 2010 with funding from the RiverStyx Foundation, Pathfinder's Sustainable Health Services for Isolated Populations in Bangladesh improved access to health services in the Rangamati Hill district of southeast Bangladesh. The region is home to a large tribal population, which lives in remote, rural areas where people are geographically, culturally, and linguistically isolated. Additionally, tribal communities tend to be impoverished. As a result, they can neither access nor afford proper nutrition, health care, or sanitation services.
This three-year project was led by Pathfinder Bangladesh in concert with Green Hill, a local NGO. The project helped the region's poor, isolated population access modern health services by training health providers, setting-up clinics, and raising community awareness about available health services.
To achieve this goal, Pathfinder provided services from static and satellite clinis and trained local women as paramedics.
Pathfinder and Green Hill set up five clinics in three subdistricts (or upazilas) of the Rangamati district. Led by a paramedic, clinic aide, and depot holder, each clinic is responsible for addressing the health care needs of a catchment population of approximately 8,000-10,000 people. Services provided by the clinics include maternal and newborn care, family planning, management of sexually transmitted infections and reproductive tract infections, general health care, and diagnostic and lab work. For emergency cases, the clinics refer clients to nearby public and private health facilities.
At the same time, Pathfinder arranged for a two-year training course for paramedics, which prepared locally-recruited women to serve their own communities and take leadership over the clinics, ensuring long-term sustainability for the overall efforts.
The clinics charge just a small fee for services in order to restock the clinic and cover staff and administrative expenses. At the end of the project, Pathfinder expects that each team of paramedics will be able to run their clinic without external funding or support, when trainee paramedics return after completing their training.
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