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.
As the world moves rapidly towards a new policy agenda for the post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era, emerging priority themes include universal health coverage, sustainable cities, and the demand for human rights and accountability. It’s a fact that the world is rapidly urbanising with significant changes in our living standards, lifestyles, social behaviour and health. Thirty years ago, four out of every 10 people were living in cities, but by 2050 the UN predicts this number will grow to seven out of 10.
Since 1972, BRAC has been working with the objectives of poverty alleviation and empowering the poor with a holistic approach. As a top world organization, it has made notable contributions into multi-dimensional sectors on human development activities. In order to achieve the MDGs of reducing child mortality and halving the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015 (goals 4 and 7), BRAC has been implementing the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme since 2006 in 150 Upazilas (sub-districts) of Bangladesh.
100,000 in 1990 to just 194 in 2010, while other indicators like neonatal and under-five mortality have also fallen.
While those numbers are still too high (in many developed countries, the rates for all are in single digits), the change is still staggering. Bangladesh is close to reaching the fourth and fifth of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals regarding child and maternal mortality.
The fashion and garments industry of Bangladesh, employing the largest labour force, has become a national pride. A huge fraction of the labour force is women, which has brought about a revolutionary change in the concept of women’s empowerment and economic independence. But a few of the recent garments and fashion house fire incidents have changed this whole notion of national pride into death traps.