Friends and supporters have reached out to BRAC with concern and support. In Sierra Leone and Liberia, we have 907 full-time staff, and about as many self-employed community health promoters. Our staff is safe, though sadly, some of our microfinance clients are among the more than 1,000 who have died.
It was Monday, a bazaar day at Qarabag. Hundreds of people were milling about the market, which stretches along one of the roads of the junction. They were buying clothes, daily essentials and food. On these days, the number of visitors at the BRAC-managed district hospital also doubles.
Bangladesh is rated as one of the 36 high malnutrition burdened countries in the world. Although it was widely perceived that malnutrition could be curbed down by increasing peoples’ income, recent studies have shown that it is not always the case. Malnutrition is not only under-nutrition but also over-nutrition, which leads to obesity leading to further health complications such as non-communicable diseases. Moreover, exposure to junk food coupled with a lack of knowledge on nutrition increases the prevalence of malnutrition across the mid and higher quintile of the population.
Asma Akhter had her first child at the age of 15. She had little knowledge on infant, young and child feeding (IYCF) practices and used to believe in superstitions and social taboos regarding child care. She had avoided breastfeeding her daughter within one hour of birth and had wrongly fed other lacteals during her child’s first six months.
BRAC has been recruiting and training shasthya shebikas, frontline community health promoters, in Bangladesh since 1972. Currently 97,000 shasthya shebikas and an additional 10,000 shasthya kormis, frontline community health workers, are providing a multitude of health services to Bangladesh’s communities. For tuberculosis (TB), they provide TB information, identify TB cases and administer directly observed treatment short- course (DOTS).
Today marked the four-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. Our friends at AmeriCares write about Herve, a patient at the BRAC Limb and Brace Center, who like so many others lost his legs in the quake:
After having both legs amputated when they were crushed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 19-year-old Herve struggled. He was given prosthetics that did not work well and couldn't go to school or join his friends.
The BRAC Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme in Bangladesh is planning to convert faecal matter from pit latrines into commercially viable fertiliser, biogas and electricity. The aim is to complete the sanitation chain by making material from millions of pit latrines safe and economically productive. Babar Kabir, senior director of the BRAC WASH programme, says that there is a sound business case for investment in bio-energy units that could generate electricity on a large scale.
Across the murky waters of Banani Lake from BRAC's headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh, lies Korail, one of the country's largest slums, jam-packed with over 40,000 people. I have always seen the slum from a distance, but knew very little about what goes on inside. Typically, slums are illegal land settlements littered with crime, invariable health-hazards and acute poverty. But what I saw recently on my first visit was beyond my expectations.
GlaxoSmithKline and Save the Children have joined together to create a $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award, awarding $300,000 to BRAC. The funds will be used to pilot BRAC's Manoshi program in Freetown, Sierra Leone, after having tremendous success in the urban slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Atul Gawande, a surgeon, public health researcher at Harvard and author of The Checklist Manifesto, has been exploring why some innovations spread fast and others don’t. The author takes an in-depth look at BRAC and its usage of oral rehydration solution to combat childhood deaths from diarrhea in the 1980s.
Whenever we think about health services, the things that typically come to mind are doctors, paramedics, nurses or even hospitals. In Bangladesh, for decades women have been creating a new norm for how primary health care can look by delivering health care services using a door-to-door approach without the typical doctor, paramedic or even nurse. Besides providing basic health care services, these women are expanding their communities’ perceptions of women’s potential and importance in society.
To donate to BRAC's relief efforts, BRAC has partnered with Jolkona to raise money for BRAC Limb & Brace Centre custom prosthetics and counseling for victims of the building collapse and their families. To donate, please go to http://supportsavar.geocko.com/campaigns/eap. Or U.S. cellular phone users can text "BRAC" to 20222 to donate $10 via mobile.