Health Care For the Poor By the Poor
In a country with a high poverty rate like Bangladesh, health care is an unaffordable luxury for many people. Especially for the poor in rural areas who live on less than $US1/day – as the travel expenses, hospital admission and treatment costs, medication, time off work and/or looking after their families comes at too great a cost. So many poor people go untreated for easily treatable illnesses.
With these issues in mind, Dr Edric Baker from New Zealand, began work from a small dispensary in the Madhupur forest area in 1982 together with Church of Bangladesh. In 1996 he started the Kailakuri Clinic. This has grown into a rural health centre (with inpatient and outpatient services) backing up mother-child care, diabetes and TB activities. Patients requiring surgery are taken to other hospitals. Patients are only charged nominal fees and medication is given to patients on site. Because patients cannot afford treatment costs, the clinic relies on donations to cover project expenditure. Many patients come from ethnic minority background.
Providing rural health care is a huge problem in Bangladesh, as most doctors do not want to go to the countryside. Placements in the bigger cities are more prestigious and better paid. Hence Kailakuri has been designed as a paramedic-run health project, with medical supervision. All paramedics have been trained on the job. They follow a standard treatment manual and attend weekly half-day training sessions to increase their knowledge.
- Mother-Child Village Programme
- Nutrition and Health Education
- Diabetes Programme
- Tuberculosis Programme
- Surgical Transfers
Kailakuri Health Care Project receives 42,000 outpatient visits per year (up to 150 per day) and 1300 inpatients (35-40 patient capacity). In addition to this, 23,000 receive health and nutrition education. Annual project costs amount to $US 215, 000 (less than 10% administration costs).
Doctors and Admin Volunteers needed
Although trying hard, Kailakuri has not yet succeeded in finding a Bangladeshi doctor to work longterm in this setting. Therefore foreign volunteer doctors are welcome to join the project. The minimum length of stay would be 12 months, desirable would be 18 to 36 months.
Additionally people with a good capacity of the English language and computer skills could come as volunteers for at least 12 months, preferably longer, to built local administration capacities and engage in fundraising and publicity work. Interested persons (aged over 25 years) please contact