The Church of Bangladesh is implementing the Community Health Programme as preventive action to reach remote areas of the country with clinical and referral services. It is a very popular service among the poor, and holds its mission in the Bible verse, “Love your neighbors as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
A huge number of poor communities, irrespective of religion, caste and sect, are benefitting from the programme, with women and children as the primary recipents. The service comprises primary health care, antenatal and postnatal care, child care, and raising awareness on nutrition. This is done through teaching on better food habits and growing proper food and vegetables, and initiating advocacy to get access into public health services.
Skilled health workers who are trained in junior nursing by the nursing institution of the Church of Bangladesh take the programme into communities. They go door to door to give healthcare, and organise yard meetings and demonstrations to groups. So far more than 32,000 families have been reached including 25,000 women, 15,000 children and 12,000 men.
Sabita, a Hindu low-caste woman living in poverty, said, “We are not able to bear the cost to go to nearby doctors or clinics for our treatment. We live in a marshy area and the communication is bad. One small boat is the only the means of travel that we have had for the past year. I am a housewife but I did not know that leafy vegetables are better for our health, I just ate to fill my stomach. During pregnancy I was told to reduce regular food intake for safe delivery, but now I know the facts and that this was wrong. I suffered much from malnutrition because I followed the superstitions of my family.”
She added, “Like me, many women in my community are now more aware about what we can do for good health and better living. Our lives are being looked after through the doorstep health services from the Church of Bangladesh.”
Please pray with us and the Church of Bangladesh:
- Lord, we pray for the women who are deprived of the modern knowledge to promote health. Heavenly father, have mercy on us so that we can help those wholeheartedly who need support from us so that they experience a decent and dignified life. Amen.
- God be with the people who are now suffering from monsoon floods in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and give them the courage to bear the loss and settle back in normal life soon. Amen.
- Father, we are not careful about our soil, air and the trees surrounding us. Help us and give us your wisdom to look after our world and our community wisely. Amen.
Report by Michael Roy, Asia Facilitator for the Anglican Alliance