DHAKA, April 15, 2017 (BSS) – Community clinics established in remote areas of the country have become dependable for healthcare services of the rural women and children.
They rush to these clinics if they suffer from cold, diarrhoea or other kinds of diseases. Though community clinics are facing some problems including shortage of physicians and medicines, they earned reputation as the “hospitals of the poor”, such a picture was seen visiting the northeastern districts of Mymensingh and Netrakona and talking to the people concerned.
Public representatives are being involved in these clinics. There are more than 13,000 community clinics through which various kinds of services like pre-and post-delivery healthcare services, reproductive health, family planning, immunization, nutrition, health education and advices are given.
Different non-government organizations in some regions are also working for child health development through community clinics. Mofazzal Hossain, a community health service provider of Paikpara Community Clinic of Roypara union under Barhattra upazila in Netrakona, said the most of the people of the village is poor.
Their scope for getting healthcare services and facilities is insignificant.
Only community clinics provide some medicare services to them. Thirty types of medicines are given free of cost from the community clinics as per the need of the people.
Free medicines for the diseases like flux-coughing are supplied alongside vaccines of different diseases for pregnant women and children. Though the clinic has a post of trained health worker, it is lying vacant, said Mofazzal.
Local people said if anybody suffers from diarrhoea or any child falls sick, they rush to the community clinic. And they go to community clinics first and then union health and family welfare when they suffer from major diseases.
If needed, they are advised to go to upazila health complex or District Sadar Hospital.
Sexagenarian Akkas Ali said: “We go to community clinics when we suffer from fever, headache or allergy. But we have to go to Sadar Hospital when major diseases affect us.”
While talking about community clinics, Public Health Expert Dr Nazneen Akhtar said some community clinics are saving completely helpless women from the environment and unskilled midwife that are very risky for delivery.
“It’s a positive side of the community clinics. Because if a mother remains healthy, her child would be healthy, and a healthy society would be built, if mother and child both are healthy,” she said.
Highlighting various aspects of the community clinics, its Project Director Dr Makhduma Nargis said: “We didn’t see such community clinics in other developing countries like us.” She said at least 18 development partners are working in this epoch-making programme of the government.
World Vision, Bangladesh is working in Muktagachcha of Mymensingh. Regional Health Coordinator of World Vision Jayanta Nath said many of the local people are still reluctant not to take services from the community clinics, while many are complaining that they’re not getting desired services from it.
“In this situation, we’ve appointed a nutrition consultant for every 300 families. They’re making aware the mothers and the children under five years about nutrition,” he said.
Besides, Jayanta said, various community groups and community support groups have been made aware about their responsibility for running the community clinics.
Because, they will have to make maintenance of the clinic, and realizing the matter, they’re running the clinic efficiently, he said. They also took initiatives for solving small problems exist in the clinic by holding regular meetings.
Dr Abdul Khaleq, a professor of the Department of Development Studies at Dhaka University, has asked the authorities concerned to give importance to further improve the quality of the services, availability of necessary equipment and the presence of trained manpower.
He said despite various limitations, community clinics are running.
Stressing the need for more training for community health service providers, Dr Khaleq said three-month training for them is not adequate which they acknowledged.
Besides, necessary equipment and manpower will have to increased in the community clinics.
The present government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the five-year (2009-2014) project titled “Revitalisation of Community Healthcare Initiatives in Bangladesh” to reach medicare services to the people’s doorsteps.
Later, the project was included in the Fourth Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Programme. Currently, the work area and infrastructure of the scheme are being increased further, said Chief Coordinator of the project Dr Makhduma Nargis.
She said the number of service recipients and the quality of the services are going up. In the primary healthcare, the community clinics have become a role model in the world and the people are getting its benefit.
Dr Nargis said there are arrangements for normal delivery in more than 900 clinics, while a strong monitoring team has been formed which is very crucial for mother and child healthcare.
Line Director (In-charge) of Community Based Healthcare of the Directorate of Health Dr Md Yusuf said importance is being given for timely presence of the community health service providers. “Those who won’t discharge their duty properly would be punished … services for the rural people must be ensured at first,” he said.