Community clinic makes revolution in healthcare for elderly women


DHAKA, June 15, 2021 (BSS) – Community clinic, one of the flagship innovations of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to put the country’s primary healthcare structure on a strong base, is now seems as savior of thousands of marginal people especially the distress elderly womenfolk.

“Those days are over when I had to do nothing but suffer as I didn’t have extra penny to buy medicine. Now, whenever I get sick, I rush to the hospital (community clinic) beside my house and get treatment with free medicines,” said Morsheda Begum, an 80 plus year old widow, residing at Fatehpur village of Phulpur upazila in Mymensingh district.

Begum, whose husband Dr Abu Taher made supreme sacrifice during the country’s Liberation war in 1971, said she was used to depend on her son or grandsons to get medicine from the village market but now she can go to the community clinic alone without reliant to anyone.

“With various old-age complications, I lost all hope of my life to survive. But, suddenly the community clinic changed the scenario,” she said in a jubilant voice.

Begum is one of the hundreds of distress widows across the country who are seeing the community clinic as a “hospital for poor’ with high gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her innovation.

“We are too poor to see private physicians. We don’t have enough money to go to upazila to see a doctor even at the public hospital there. Thanks to Bangabandhu’s daughter (Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina) for giving us the community clinic. It comes as like our savers,” said Rabeya Bewa, a 70-year-old widow.

The same relief and joy were echoed by other elderly people of the union like Tota Mia, Tofazzel Hossain, Mokhles Sheikh and Hazera Begum who have been taking regular services from ‘Fatepur Community Clinic’.

“Hospital in our village … that was more than an illusion for us … even it was difficult to find a pharmacy in our village,” said Tofazzel thanking the Awami Legue government for bringing the healthcare facilities at his doorstep.

The clinics are providing services like mother and children healthcare, reproductive healthcare, family planning, vaccination, nutrition, diabetics, high blood pressure and giving 30 kinds of primary medicines at free of cost.

The community clinic is helping Bangladesh to attain the desire goal of reducing mother and children mortality rate as basic pre-natal and post-natal health care services and skilled birth attendants are available there.

Rahima Khatun, a 40 plus women of the village said currently women here are getting skilled birth attendant at the community clinic during the delivery.

“I am getting all pregnancy related advices from this community clinic,” said a pregnant mother named Shefali Khatun while visiting the clinic to measure her blood pressure.

Lauded very high about the services of community healthcare providers (CHCP) at the clinic, Khatun said, “we were fore to go to Phulpur upazila health complex or Mymensigh medical college hospital or any private clinic there before having this clinic here. This community clinic is saving both our time and money”.

Community Clinic is the flagship program of Awami League government, an innovation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to extend primary health care to the doorsteps of rural people all over rural Bangladesh.

Nearly 18000 community clinics, remain open six days in a week and giving treatment to on average 50 to 60 patients daily, are on board and number is gradually increasing.

According to the government statistics, so far 62 crore 57 lakh people have taken services from such community clinics.

Master trainer of Community Based Health Centre (CBHC) Dr Yesmin Ali said availability of maternity services at the community clinics is a great help for the marginalized women across the country.

As an example, she mentioned the name of Bhuktera Community clinic of Zuri upazila in Moulovibazar district that so far successfully conducted more than 200 save birth deliveries.

Public health expert Dr Naznin Akhtar said some community clinics are saving many helpless rural women from giving birth at risky environment in the hand of unskilled midwives.

“It’s a very good side of the community clinic as it has been saving lives of many women and children,” she said adding that the pro-people community clinic concept has also been highly lauded in the international arena as ‘role model’ of primary healthcare.

CBHC line director Masud Reza Kabir said the government has strengthened monitoring system over the community clinics for ensuring proper services to the rural people.

He said the government has also decided to renovate some community clinics with proper labour rooms and patient waiting rooms to make the initiative more effective and pro-people service oriented.

“We are planning to turn the community clinic into a modern and standard healthcare centers,” he added.

On the occasion of 50-year anniversary of the country’s independence, health minister Zahid Maleque said community clinic is one of the Bangladesh successes those are identified as model for other developing countries.

“We have plane to build more modern community clinics to spread the proper primary healthcare to every corner of the country,” he added.