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Reflections on the State of Bangladeshi Health Care

In this New York Times article, the author quotes WHO (2010) in noting that 50,000 Bangladeshis travel to India for treatment each year.  This phenomenon of travelling to neighbouring countries to recieve healthcare is evident, as billboards that advertise hospitals in Singapore and Hong Kong are numerous in Bangladesh.  Bangladesh nationals justify the expense and trouble of travelling for care because of their mistrust of local hospitals.

Although there are many dedicated individuals working in difficult conditions, nurses are also mistrusted.  As a result of their low status and weak education, nurses’ scope of practice is very limited in Bangladesh – another reason patients get better care elsewhere.

However, there is positive change in the country.  Public health initiatives, many focused on marginalized populations like women, have been very successful in improving health outcomes in Bangladesh, and community-based forms of health care have increased access for much of the population.

IUBAT is also contributing towards better health care through the education of new nurses; IUBAT Nursing students practice in several private hospitals, not-for-profit and for-profit.  They also attend one government hospital, the National Institute for Mental Health.  Through a variety of health settings, the students are exposed to hospitals that have reasonable standards of care.  In post-practice seminars, the students have the chance to discuss any gaps in care that they have observed, and these points serve as learning opportunities and impetus for improvement.  Furthermore, visiting faculty volunteers offer training sessions for the nurses working in our teaching hospital sites.  Slowly, we see that care is improving; our mission is to speed that process for a wider population.

For the full New York Times commentary, please click here.

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