Aug 09 2007
Project Bangladesh was established on the first of April 1989, when a group of expatriate Bangladeshis converged together with a singular aim of aiding the commom Bangladeshi in matters of health.
The objectives were:
1-To provide basic health care to the comman man, woman and child in Bangladesh to alleviate suffering caused by disease and malnutrition in order to reduce the health burden;
2-To alleviate suffering caused by the lack of basic health care;
3-To reduce the health burden among the country’s population;
The concept of Shushasthya began a little over a decade and a half ago when a group of expatriate Bangladeshi physicians realised that they weren’t satisfied with simply sending money home to be spent on health-related development projects; they wanted more accountability of how the funds were spent. They decided to collaborate on a project to alleviate the basic health problems of underprivileged Bangalis who cannot afford healthcare. In the words of Dr Ajmal Sobhan, “We also decided that there would be strict guidelines for the salaried staff physicians regarding time spent with the patient (15 minutes per patient) as well as cleanliness and personal hygiene within the premises. We also wanted immunisation/ preventive medicine /and reproductive medicine and education to be part and parcel of the care given.”
This vision was realised when 16 expat Bangladeshi physicians formed the core group and put in the initial funding to establish an organisation called ‘Project Bangladesh’. This organisation is a tax-exempt, charitable organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the US government. At the same time, they formed a sister organisation in Bangladesh called Shushasthya, which became the name of the clinic and a registered NGO in Bangladesh.
The group in Dhaka draws from a more diverse pool of expertise, consisting of professionals, technocrats, retired army officers and university professors, and interestingly, most are alumni of the St. Gregory’s school. Like the group in the US, the Dhaka wing of the project is dedicated in a voluntary, non-salaried basis to providing health care to the needy.
Shushasthya works in the health sector caring for those who cannot afford the services of physicians, and have little access to basic medical facilities.
The immediate concern is to acquire land of its own to set up a hospital with a minimum of 200-500 beds and modern facilities to accommodate patients who can afford on a nominal charge to keep the hospital alive through its own earnings. In the words of Dr. Ajmal Sobhan, “We want to expand the services rendered at Shushasthya as well as to replicate the Shushasthya model in other outlying bustee population areas.”
Lt. Col Aziz Ahmad (retd) says, “The idea of a completely free surgical facility (during the surgical missions from abroad) was arrested as we had to depend on local clinics and hospitals for the service of the Operating table. The medical team charges were for free. My intention to highlight this point is because if we had a hospital facility of our own, we could have given our patients the entire care for free. For this we need the support of philanthropic people and organisations, who could come up with help to make this materialise! Furthermore, the lab facilities had been purchased through a donation by CIDA and have begun to show signs of ageing. We would highly be benefited by a replacement. Please be informed that our lab-test results had drawn recognition from all (locals and foreigners).” (Copyright (R) thedailystar.net)
SUPPORT FOR PROJECT BANGLADESH:
86 Silverwood Dr.
Newport News, VA 23608
For more information: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good morning everyone!
If you click on this link you can watch a short clip on Project Bangladesh which includes pictures from our visit last November. The daughter of a bengali friend who works for the newspaper there composed the video. It’s pretty cool!
Next trip is in January 2008 and fundraising is going great so far. keep us in your prayers as we get ready to embark on another mission.
Joe and Susan
Mary Immaculate medical team aids
There are many people in Bangladesh today who are healthier and happier, thanks to the far-reaching compassion and professionalism of local medical personnel.
Led by Dr. Ajmal Sobhan, 11 volunteers for Project Bangladesh visited the Asian country in February. For two intense weeks — 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day — they performed surgeries that ranged from gynecological to thyroid operations.
Sobhan said that expatriates from that country who settled in America “formed an organization among ourselves to help an impoverished people. Since we’re all in health care, we wanted to make a difference for the Bangladesh people.
“Initially, this was discussed in 1989, and it took a while to get organized. … Now almost 19 years later, we completed our sixth surgical mission.”
This time 115 operations were done. “It was phenomenal,” he added. “Far more successful than last time, when we did 67.”
Retired from general and vascular practice in both cities since November 2006, Sobhan didn’t conduct any of the surgeries. In addition to raising money and collecting supplies beforehand, his work focused on the logistics of transportation, lodging and security. To determine who could receive surgery, “I screened patients and got them organized.”
Sobhan pointed out the contributions of doctors Naved Jafri and Elizabeth O’Neil. The former “performed many operations to correct stress incontinence (inability to hold urine) and fistulas (abnormal connections between reproductive organs and the urinary system), due to medical misadventure or delayed or complicated deliveries.”
These conditions are not only unhygienic and embarrassing for the affected women, but a source of being shunned by their families. Jafri’s work was “a life-changing experience for the patients concerned. O’Neil also performed some difficult cases, including a thyroid surgery, which took almost five hours.”
“The whole program is based on the premise that we will do as many cases as humanly possible,” said Sobhan, “but we will also teach the local surgeons, nurses and students to do the case for themselves as we leave them behind.”
Overall, “I’m very, very happy with the results,” he said. “They [the team] worked very well together, and had a very good time. I hope to do this once a year. The need is so, so acute.
Of those included in the recent mission were Joseph Yungbluth, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, and Emma Tribble, a certified surgical technician, both at Mary Immaculate Hospital. Others on the team were Yungbluth’s wife, Susan, Kathleen App and Annette Kock, all registered nurses; Sharon Golden, a certified registered surgical technician; and Sean Holder, a certified surgical technician.
“I first got involved in 2001,” said Yungbluth. “I gave anesthesia at Hampton General Hospital, and Dr. Sobhan was general surgeon, who had already gone on two other missions. He was the only surgeon at the time. He would take an anesthetist and a couple of general surgeons the next time. I said it was very interesting and I’d like to go.”
This recent trip was his fourth mission.
Tribble said she had been hearing about the project for many years. A co-worker told her about Soban’s need for techs on the recent mission.
“If you go, I go, and that started the ball rolling,” said Tribble, who used vacation time to make her first trip this past winter.
“I helped with actual surgeries, such as closing skin or passing instruments. It was enjoyable, honestly, especially with the team. We were just good for each other. Everyone worked well. I can’t stress that enough.”
“I went because I felt it was time to give back to society … Giving is an important part of living,” said Yungbluth.
The next trip will be in 2010 or 2011, and Yungbluth and Tribble hope to go again if asked.
“Dr. Sobhan is getting more and more people wanting to go,” said Yungbluth. “I have enjoyed it so much. It’s very worth it. I’ll go help him anyway I can.”
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