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8 May, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 7 May, 2019 11:36:02 PM
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Floating hospital for char people

ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN back from Gaibandha
Floating hospital for char people

Fifty-year-old Belal Hossain, a teacher of Gaibandha’s Sadullapur Bakshiganj Rani High School, was suffering from pain in his left portion of his chest for many years. However, since no proper hospital or clinic was available in his area, he could not avail of the necessary treatment.

On learning about a floating hospital from his neighbours on Wednesday, he went to Kaziarchar in Sundarganj upazila of Gaibandha district for a medical check-up. The floating hospital had been temporarily set up there to provide necessary medical support to the deprived char people. He was accompanied by his son Abdul Ahad.

The medical team of the hospital enrolled his name and recorded his medical history. Hearing his medical history, the medical assistant, Ajit Gharami, said he anticipated that Belal was suffering from heart disease. As he was not a doctor and there was no expert doctor in the hospital at that time, the medical assistant kept his details.

Since a team of expert doctors would visit the hospital, known as Emirates Friendship Hospital (a floating hospital on a ship), and provide the necessary treatment for heart disease within three or four days, Gharami requested the patient to keep communicating with the hospital. He assured the patient would get a call from the hospital when an expert physician would come there.

Rekha Begum, 35, of Kaziarchar area went to the same hospital with gynaecological complexities. She has got a medical card from the same hospital and an assurance that necessary treatment would soon be provided by expert gynaecologists.

The hospital authorities promised to call her when a physician of the gynaecological department would be available there for her treatment.

In the hospital, eye operation camps were arranged on Wednesday for around 40 patients with specialist doctors from Dhaka’s renowned hospitals. The physicians conducted cataract operations on some people, including Alimul Islam, Jabbar Miah and Asiya Begum of different nearby places and a rickshaw-puller, Siddik, of Balashighat area.

Hundreds in the area were treated for different diseases including general problems, gynaecological ailments, paediatric illnesses and eye and orthopaedic problems at the hospital.

More than 100 people, male, female and children, could be seen at the temporary camp of the hospital. While some of them had already availed of treatment, some were awaiting free treatment at the hospital. Friendship Bangladesh, a local non-government organisation, established the modern floating hospital at a ship with different facilities with international support. The hospital provides medical assistance to the ultra-poor and deprived char people free of cost.

According to the hospital authorities, they give medical support to the char people in an area covering around 200 kilometres in Gaibandha and Kurigram districts.

They anchor the floating hospitals at around 35 points on the riverbanks round the year and impart necessary treatment to all the patients.

Normally, authorities call expert physicians of different renowned hospitals on a certain date to provide treatment to patients with critical problems. Normal patients receive medical facilities, including medical tests and medicines, regularly from the physicians of the hospital.

Talking to The Independent, some patients said treatment at this hospital was very good and on top of that it was free. One of them even said, “Such superior treatment cannot be obtained in lieu of money.”

Residents of 80 vast isolated char areas 200 km wide in Gaibandha and Kurigram live below the poverty line and battle river erosion. Often they have to leave their homes because of the mighty Jamuna. They have no access to any government treatment facility where they can get treatment.

For the first time in these char areas, a free treatment facility was initiated by Friendship.

Sona Uddin, a shopkeeper in the Kaziar Char, said, “People suffer from a great deal of morbidities here.”

“We provide all kinds of treatment free of cost. We even give medicines to patients free of cost,” Dr Iqbal Ahmed Khan, one of the doctors of the hospital, told this correspondent.

People of these vast char areas—spanning 200km between Kurigram and Gaibandha—are so poor, he said, that they live in these remote char areas without any modern facilities.

There are five units in the floating hospital viz. eye, general, outdoor and bone operation units, said Dr Istiaq Hossain, another physician of the hospital.

“All the services, including medicines, are given free of cost. We just issue cards to every patient for Tk. 10. Sometimes we send critical patients to government hospitals with the help of a water ambulance,” he said in reply to a query. He further said consultations, blood tests and other tests are done free of cost at this hospital.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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