Our colleague Prof. Hasnat Alamgir has written several editorials about important health care system issues in Bangladesh. In his latest piece, he describes how needs of elderly people are not being met due to social and demographic changes. Although there is a growing population of older adults, more female relatives now work outside the home and low-wage domestic helpers are less available. At the same time, Alamgir writes, social, religious, and family value systems discourage children from sending their parents to residential care facilities. He proposes adult daycare as a culturally appropriate option. This is also compatible with home support services, something that BHP volunteers have supported at the Sajida Foundation. In other columns for Financial Express, Prof. Alamgir has written about food safety, patient satisfaction, health outcome measures, and occupational health with a special focus on garment factory workers.
Our Dhaka colleague, Dr. Nazmul Huda, has shared a report on the effect of Covid on children’s education in Bangladesh. When the pandemic first hit, concern initially focused on girls being forced into marriage, as struggling families tried to reduce their costs by marrying off their daughters. Now however, most of those missing from the classrooms are adolescent boys who have become wage earners for their families (photo shows family breaking bricks for concrete aggregate).
Donations from BHP supporters tackle these problems directly: Since Covid started, OFP has provided food aid to the ultra-poor in Nilphamari District. After the government closed all schools, Bluebell teachers took readers and other learning materials to students in their homes. OFP also awards scholarships to deserving but needy high school students (young woman standing in photo is a straight "A" high school student). Several OIST students have also been awarded tuition waivers to enroll in vocational training that will prepare them for decent jobs.