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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.

Festivities at the Annual IUBAT Nursing Picnic

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Students play “pot pinata” – where the participant is blindfolded and attempts to strike an upturned clay pot on the ground ahead

On March 15th, 2018, current BSN students planned a student/faculty/alumni picnic.  Every year, students have the opportunity to organize such an event in order to have some extracurricular social time, but also to develop their leadership and organizational skills whilst learning to work as a team.  The students organize the picnics themselves, including all the transportation, food, games, sound system, venue and budget.  The location often varies, with some examples in the past being resort parks or rural areas.  This year, approximately 80 people, including faculty, alumni, students and family members, attended the picnic, hosted at a park in Gazipur, about 2 hours by bus from the university.  There was a swimming pool that was enjoyed by many and games were played.  The students cooked food for the attendees and fun was had by all.

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Students swimming in the park, an increasingly popular pastime.

Call for visiting faculty

Recent progress at IUBAT creates fresh opportunities for volunteers to support local faculty in the classroom and in clinical supervision. We heartily welcome Professor Dr Abdur Rab as the new Vice-Chancellor at IUBAT. He has expressed strong support for the College of Nursing and encouraged on-going involvement of BHP volunteers.  Under his direction, Nursing program enrollment has increased and the nursing lab improved. Also, our BSN graduates now work in various Dhaka hospitals so there are more opportunities for practice sites. For these reasons, we need visiting faculty who can strengthen IUBAT instructors’ skills in lecturing and supervising student practice. Formal teaching qualifications are desirable but not essential; many of our previous volunteers have been bedside nurses. IUBAT has arranged new guest-house facilities for visiting faculty in a modern building close to the campus; our familiar housekeeper will continue providing support. With these developments, we are ready to welcome visiting faculty for minimum four-week assignments. Please contact us for further information.

IUBAT College of Nursing Updates

We caught up with Dr. Karen Lund, Visiting Faculty Chair of the IUBAT BSN Program for the latest news from Dhaka.  She states:

“As the BSN Program at IUBAT is finding it’s own feet by hiring their own full-time faculty, it is a time of growth and transition, but also relative uncertainty for staff and students.  However, there is 100% support under the new Vice Chancellor of IUBAT, Dr. Abdur Rab.  He has been very encouraging in terms of helping to implement suggestions from the BSN faculty, particularly with regard to academic and quality assurance measures.  Admission is also increasing: in the spring semester of 2018, there were 28 freshmen, a much bigger cohort than the 3-5 members in our inaugural year!  Along with the admission spike, there are additions to the faculty as well.  We currently have five faculty, including three of our own alumni, and are happy to report that alumnus, Shuvashish Das Bala, is now the Coordinator of the College of Nursing.  We are also happy to report that former alumnus faculty, Mr. Ali Kiron, has just graduated with a Masters in Global Health from Sweden!

 From January to March of this year, a comprehensive quality assurance review was conducted by the Government of Bangladesh (funded by the World Bank Initiative and carried out by the University Grants Commission) of all universities in Bangladesh.  To complete this review, an external inspection team evaluated our self-assessment report and, over three days, meticulously examined facilities, documentation and teaching environments, and held interviews with students and faculty.  Each department at each university was inspected independently and we are proud to announce that according to the resulting detailed 200-page report, IUBAT’s BSN College of Nursing received a score of Very Good, which is rarely awarded.  The reported cited the CON’s potential as a “flagship program” for nursing education.”