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Health Program - Case Study

Healthcare is our right, not anyone’s charity
Monju Rani De of Gazaria village under No. 7 Poschim Char-Umed union of Lalmohon upazila is a destitute widow. Amal Chandra De, her eldest son of the 7-member family is a day labourer. Monju Rani works as a domestic help in the village homes for a living. Both the mother and the son work hard to run the family somehow. Monju Rani has not been able to build a house with needed space. The mother eventually is stricken by tuberculosis as a result of living in congested and unhygienic environment. As an active member of the women’s group, she comes to learn about the disease, its prevention and treatment including the place for receiving treatment. She goes to Gazaria BRAC healthcare clinic for treatment. The health worker asks her to pay Tk 300 for sputum test. Monju Rani did not have the money and she knew that the treatment was supposed to be free of cost. She discusses the matter with Mamtaz Begum, a CSG member, who accompanies her to the BRAC health care centre the following day. When she enquires about charging the Tk 300 as fee, the health worker realizes that she has made a mistake and admits that. She assures Monju Rani that she will receive free treatment and also that all tuberculosis patients would get free treatment. She is now under treatment at BRAC clinic and her condition is improving. Expressing her gratitude to VERC and Mamtaz Begum, Monju Rani said, “We are not ignorant villagers any more. Now we know that receiving medical care is our right, it is nobody’s charity.

A Village Blood Bank
Kartar Haat is an important village market in Ramaganj union, situated at the confluence of three contiguous unions of Lalmohan upazila under Bhola district. This market place houses a number of organizations/ clubs which are engaged in sports development activities only. Now this place has given birth to a different kind of association called ‘Manush manusher jonnyo’ (Humans are for each other!)

The association was founded in July, 2011 with 25 members who were already members of so many other organizations such as CSGs/ Mobilisation Groups. Its president Mizanur Rahman has been a member of Paschim Char Umed union CSG before this organization was born. Most of the 25 members here are also members of other CSGs/Mgs.

After being involved with Community Led Sustainable Health project activities, Md Mizanur Rahman and other members resolved to do something for the ultra poor and founded this organization. The founders resolved to donate blood in poor people’s emergencies, give away cash during marriage ceremonies, prevent early marriage and child marriages and send school drop-outs back to school.

Each member deposits a monthly subscription of Tk 100. There are life members who donated Tk 5000 at a time. The organization now boasts a fund of Tk 20,000 deposited with Islami Bank, Char Fashion.

The good deeds of the organization accomplished so far include donating blood to 34 seriously ailing patients, cash assistance of Tk 2,700 on the occasion of two marriages, and another cash help of Tk 2,400 in favour of three ultra poor persons. They collect the blood grouping result sheets from the VERC mini-lab and health campaigners, search out likely donors of various blood groups, motivate them to donate blood to the needy in times of crises and organize the blood transfers. People of the locality know that the organization has the capacity to organize blood collection, donation and transfer of all groups’ of blood. That is why, the organization is known as the ‘Grameen Blood Bank’ in the area.

Lessons Learnt
The lessons learnt by the project workers and the realizations drawn are encapsulated as follows:
- It is easier to implement any development activities if the community people take part in planning and implementation.
- The health care center should be established in easy to access locations of the hard core poor
- Project Community Support Groups and Health Watch Committees have proved effective in playing significant roles in making community people aware of their health rights and establishing people’s access to the healthcare services especially in the Community Clinic.