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BHP activities for 2021

BHP support for the IUBAT College of Nursing continued during 2020. We still welcome volunteers to support the local faculty, especially with clinical supervision. However, our focus has been “behind the scenes” partly due to the pandemic restrictions and also to advance several exciting new developments:

  1. Working with Nurses International, we have been converting the BScN curriculum to an Open Educational Resource. You can read about this in several publications.
  2. During 2020 we worked with IUBAT faculty to develop a proposal for a Masters in Public Health Program. This will create a career pathway for nurses and other health care professionals. The national regulator is now reviewing the application, so we hope that students will be admitted later in 2021.
  3. Working with another NGO, Oasis for Posterity, we have supported development of a vocational college in a rural area of northern Bangladesh. We hope to offer a training program for community health workers and a primary care clinic that can also be used for training BScN and MPH students.

OIST Lab

As always, we welcome volunteer contributions and involvement in these activities, whether working from home or in Bangladesh. Donations are always welcome.

Open Education Resources now available

When BHP volunteers helped IUBAT build the College of Nursing starting in 2003, we had to create all the learning resources ourselves. We wrote the course lectures and exams based on current textbooks in various subjects so that the syllabus meets the requirements of the nursing councils in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Each semester successive groups of visiting faculty volunteers updated and improved the content. Fifteen years later, that curriculum has been tested by volunteers with current clinical and teaching experience and used with many batches of students. We are now partnering with Nurses International, a US-based NGO to make these digitized materials available as Open Education Resources [OER], meaning everything can be downloaded, used and adapted without cost under the Creative Commons Licensing system. The intended audience is junior nurse educators who may need support as they begin their teaching careers. Please use the Nurses International link to access the materials or contact BHP if you would like to volunteer with further OER development.

Update July 2019

 

20190701_155915 In July 2019, Alex Berland visited IUBAT College of Nursing, meeting with Dr. Abdur Rab, Vice-Chancellor and Mr. Mohammad Ullah, Chair of the College of Nursing. They discussed Open Educational Resources, post-graduate nursing courses and clinical placements. Alex also presented a lecture for the general IUBAT audience on “Technology Enabled Learning”, highlighting how the BHP BSN curriculum is now being shared globally through Nurses International. He then met with College of Nursing faculty to discuss current teaching issues, particularly how to meet the challenges of increased enrolment, especially for active learning in the classroom. In addition to Dr. Karen Lund and Alex, three other volunteers will be visiting IUBAT CoN later this year. Since his last visit, Alex reports, the BSN program is experiencing strong enrollment growth, is retaining its local faculty who are working through recommendations of the largely positive accreditation report, and has recently renewed clinical placement agreements. In the near future, construction will begin for a laboratory block offering greatly enlarged lab facilities where BSN students can develop their clinical skills.

Increased enrolment in College of Nursing

Rabiul Islam, IUBAT Deputy Registrar writes, “The government has done a marvelous job for us, creating a central test for entry into all BSN programs. This required the Bangladesh Nursing Council to include IUBAT CON in the list of options, so that every candidate knows about and has confidence in the authenticity of IUBAT’s BSN program. As a result, we have 89 students enrolled in the BSN program as of January 2019. The BHP investment of energy and resources will accomplish its goal of creating a large group of health professionals in Bangladesh.  Going forward, there will be full classes for the visiting faculty volunteers. Please continue inviting anyone willing to volunteer in teaching at CON. And also, please advise us on the areas that need improvement to host more volunteers.” For more information on visiting faculty opportunities please see the volunteering information on this website or contact us at info@bangladeshhealthproject.com

Sister Margaret Sarkar retires

20181119_115200Many BHP volunteers will remember Sister Margaret Sarkar, who has recently retired as Nursing Superintendent at the Centre for Woman and Child Health in Ashulia. This is where IUBAT nursing students practice maternal-child nursing. We use this practicum site mostly because of the high standards for nursing practice established by Sister Margaret.

In addition to her registration with the Bangladesh Nursing Council, Sister Margaret earned a Bachelor’s degree at Dhaka University, a diploma and Bachelor’s degree in Advanced Nursing Science in UK and post-graduate training as an Oketani & Lactation Management Expert in Japan. Sister Margaret writes, “I will stay with my family in Barisal Town. Thanks again for your support to develop myself and my work in nursing at the community level, in professional development with nursing students, and in nursing care for patients.”

Sister Margaret’s life story is one of early hardship, rare good fortune, incredible effort and professional achievement. She is a modern nursing leader in Bangladesh, someone who has been an inspiration for many individuals and a driver of change for the nursing profession in Bangladesh. BHP volunteers and IUBAT students, acknowledge the contributions of Sister Margaret and wish her well in “retirement”, probably continuing her life’s work of service to others, now in a different way.

Meet the College of Nursing Faculty

20181120_093943Alex Berland recently visited IUBAT and shared this photograph of the current College of Nursing Faculty at a meeting in the Nursing Lab. Seated clockwise from left are Emtiaz Mainul (B. Eng. – program assistant) Khadiza Akter (BSN RN) Ishraq Rahman (BSc Biotechnology) Ayesha Siddika Rimi (BSN MPH RN) Priyanka Das Sharmi (BSN MA Gerontology, RN), Mostaque Ahmed (BSN), Shuvashish Das Bala (BSN MPH). Not shown Kanika Isla (BSN RN). Alex comments, “I was impressed with this dedicated group of faculty members. They have varied educational backgrounds, bringing diversity to the College of Nursing. I had a chance to observe them working as an effective team to solve every day problems, ranging from organizing a student spelling competition to mapping course competencies onto overall program objectives. I was also happy to note their solid grip on students’ learning experiences in the classroom and a clinical setting.” We welcome visiting faculty volunteers to work with these junior educators as coaches and mentors. Please contact us info@bangladeshhealthproject.com

Blog editor needed

Our project needs a volunteer to edit the blog on this website. It is a perfect task for someone  to support our work in Bangladesh who is unable to travel there at this time. The task is not urgent or time-consuming and requires basic facility with WordPress and social media. We will provide training and on-going-support, plus a steady feed of news items. Our previous volunteer, Helen Trung leaves big shoes to fill, but we know someone must be out there! Please contact us info@bangladeshhealthproject.com.

We Have a New Guesthouse!

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Moving day!

The Bangladesh Health Project has a new guesthouse for volunteers and visiting faculty!  IUBAT contracted a new space at the end of February 2018, and the move occurred at the end of March.

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Bright common area

The guesthouse is in a brand new building and is a large 2 story-flat with 6 bedrooms, a kitchen, a common area/conversation nook, a rooftop garden and patio.  Each bedroom has a balcony and an attached bathroom with a shower.

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Spacious bedrooms

It is a posh space with a great view and fantastic amenities, such as hot water on tap, air conditioning, excellent Wi-Fi, a washing machine, an elevator and a backup generator. During temporary power outages, the generator can power fans and at least one light in each room. At a mere 5 minute walk from IUBAT, it is also significantly closer than the old guesthouse, which is a 15 minute walk away.  In fact, it is just across the highway from IUBAT; you can see the university from the new guesthouse!

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Large patio

We are now in a new, second phase of the program where the focus is on growing capacity for teaching locally with international faculty mentoring our local instructors.  We are definitely in need of volunteers to work on-site with our faculty.  For more information on volunteering abroad with the BHP, please visit our website or email us at: info@bangladeshhealthproject.com.

Alumnus Obtains Master’s in Sweden

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Kiron, in the front holding flowers, with his Master’s cohort

When we last heard from Kiron, he had just been rewarded a scholarship to pursue a two-year Master’s program in Uppsala, Sweden. Since then, he has come home to Bangladesh for a visit and to mentor current students, who appreciate his knowledge and wisdom from the field.  He also shares more of his current life since moving for his international studies:

I have recently finished a two-year Master’s program in International Health, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health/IMCH from Uppsala University in Sweden. My studies were funded by the Swedish Institute Study Scholarship/SISS. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Swedish Institute; otherwise, it may would not have been possible. Teaching students to develop and build their problem-solving skills in the area of public health was the overall aim of the Master’s program. Studying in Sweden has thereby developed my critical thinking and learning skills needed for entry into health-related research and employment.

Presently, I work as a nurse assistant at the Burn Center at Uppsala University Hospital, which is the largest burn center in Sweden. Our unit provides care for any type of burn patients in both indoor and outdoor settings; therefore, I have encountered opportunities to improve my bedside nursing skills, particularly wound dressing and infection control. Moreover, I have the opportunity to closely observe the Swedish nurses’ roles in health care settings. It is important to note that not only are the Swedish nurses an integral part of healthcare settings, but they also have the freedom and the ability to lead major decisions in most cases. I am more than happy today to be a part of the Swedish healthcare system. My next goal is to work as a nurse here in Sweden and I hope I will write the national exam in the next year in order to become a registered nurse.

During my last visit in February to Bangladesh, I attended the picnic organized by IUBAT’s College of Nursing. It was a very special and highly memorable experience both for students and faculty. At the end of the picnic day, I shared some of my own thoughts and experiences to the present nursing students. It was wonderful to see that enrollment in the program is growing and increasing. I hope that the nursing students take pride in their nursing education – I believe with good reasons that our nursing students will go on to become qualified nurses, leaders, educators and so forth.

In conclusion, I would like to say that my goal is not only to work, but also to try to make a contribution to improve public health sectors, especially in the fields of sexual and reproductive health and disease. My Master’s thesis covered Bangladeshi adolescent sexual and reproductive health education. In addition, I presented my findings and my paper (entitled, “Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Education from the Perspective of Muslim Peoples in South Asia and Middle East”) at both the 13th International Knowledge Globalization Conference Dhaka 2018 and the Swedish Global Health Research Conference 2018.

Congratulations on your recent accomplishments, Kiron!  The students and faculty alike love it when you come back to Bangladesh and visit IUBAT.  Please keep us posted with your progress in Sweden and we all wish you the very best of luck on your upcoming goals and projects.

Big THANK-YOU to Helen Trung

Our long-time BHP blog editor, Helen Trung, recently resigned because she is returning to university studies in September. For the past six years, Helen has been a dedicated team-member, interviewing graduates and visiting faculty to relate their personal stories about the impact of BHP and the College of Nursing. From long-winded explanations, hazy topics and partial facts, Helen has crafted concise, well-written and fascinating accounts. Our blog is an essential tool for recruiting volunteers and communicating with supporters. Thank you, Helen, for your sharing your talents with us and good luck with your studies.