Community clinics bring relief to rural people

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DHAKA, Feb 1, 2019 (BSS) – “We the people of Paikpara village don’t bother now about diseases. We go to nearby community clinic when suffer from fever or stomach disorder. We don’t need to buy medicines as we get medicines from there free of cost,” said an elated Ashrafunnesa.

The 60-year-old woman from Paikpara village under Roypura union in Barhatta upazila of Netrakona expressed her happiness in this way while talking about the healthcare services that the government is providing through the community clinics.

Not only Ashrafunnesa, the people of a number of villages of Roypur union are very much happy about the medicare services of Paikpara Community Clinic.

These benefitted people said that previously an hospital was far away, even better medicine shops were not available in rural areas.

But the initiative of the government has been turned into the “hospitals of the poor”. Now free doctors’ advices and medicines are available at the doorsteps that brought much relief to the life of the rural people.

Sharmila Rahman, the wife of Hafizur Rahman of Karnapur village, has brought her six-month-old grandson in the clinic.

Sharmila, who is a teacher by profession, said she brought her grandson in the clinic as he has been suffering from cold and fever for two days.

Before the birth of her grandson, his mother also took advices from the doctors of the clinic. “We go to the clinic adjacent to our house for any problem … we’re getting medicines from here alongside the advices of the trained health workers for normal diseases,” she said.

“The physicians and nurses (community healthcare providers) are very much patient-friendly and they give medicines to the patients after examining their diseases. Money is not required to purchase medicines,” Sharmila said.

She continued: “Before establishing the hospital, we had to go to Netrakona Sadar Hospital or private clinics which consumed both our money and time.”

Achhab Ali echoed with the views of Sharmila saying that he came to the clinic to take medicines as he has been suffering from respiratory problem for the last couple of days.

Sources concerned said the Awami League government after assuming office in 1996 undertook the community clinic scheme. Later, the then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Ghimadanga Community Clinic of Patgati union under Tungipara upazila in Gopalganj in April 2000.

But after coming to power in 2001, the BNP-Jamaat alliance government halted the activities of the community clinics. When the Awami League government was voted to power again in 2008, the project was restarted in the plan of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The common people of the rural areas are now enjoying the fruits of the scheme.

The healthcare services are being reached to the people’s doorsteps through the clinics run in the slogan “Sheikh Hasina’s Obodan, Community Clinics Bachai Pran” (Sheikh Hasina’s Contributions, Community Clinics Save Lives).

The people are getting 32 types of medicines free of cost from the community clinics. Besides regular health advices, there are arrangements of giving advices to the pregnant women on family planning and nutrition, while some clinics have arrangements of childbirth.

The sources said currently there are 13,861 community clinics in the country. The Taka 2,700 crore project commenced in July 2009 and ended in December 2014. As many as 62.57 crore people have so far received services from these clinics.

To make the healthcare services fully available to the rural people, the government has a plan to construct 1029 more such clinics.

Mofazzal Hossain, community healthcare provider of Paikpara Community Clinic, told this correspondent that healthcare services are being given properly to the people of 7/8 villages through this clinic.

He said 32 types of medicines of common diseases including cold and fever are given from the clinic.

Mofazzal said except weekly and government holidays, they stay at the clinic from 9 am to 3 pm every day. Though few number people came to the clinic at the beginning, now 70 to 80 people on an average come to the clinic for taking advices.

Dr Yasin Ali, master trainer of the Community-Based Health Clinic (CBHC), run by the Directorate of Health, said the people of remote areas also take services regularly from these clinics.

As many as 200 childbirths have so far taken place in the Bhuktera Community Clinic under Juri upazila in Moulvibazar district.

Dr Abul Hashem Khan, the CBHC line director, highlighted the people’s satisfaction over getting services from the community clinics, saying that that everybody is happy by receiving medicare services including medicines.

“As the monitoring system at the clinic has been strengthened, the people’s confidence in the clinic has increased to a great extent,” he added.

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