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).
The 2011 Lancet series says that about 2.6 billion people lack access to proper toilet facilities and about 980 million young people under 18 live in homes without basic sanitation. Moreover, research has shown that unimproved hygiene, inadequate sanitation, and insufficient and unsafe drinking water account for about seven per cent of the total disease burden and 19 per cent of child mortality worldwide.
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.
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.
reflects that its development was far more consistent compared to the development of neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Nepal. Although Bangladesh has progressed significantly in adverting maternal and neonatal deaths, reducing transmission of communicable diseases, ensuring food security for all, but poverty still remains as a frontline concern for the country.