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National Immunization DAY (NID) Campaign
GP partnering with Bangladesh Government and WHO has been conducting polio vaccination awareness raising campaign since 2007 in order to eradicate the re-emergence of polio from Bangladesh. Campaign activities include: SMS reminder, RJ endorsement (FM radio), awareness through folk songs, mobile vaccination centres, press ads and so forth.
SMS to call for vaccination
GP was the first mobile operator sent SMS to parents & guardians of under five children reminding them to go to the nearest vaccination centers across the country to have polio vaccine. The initiative was greatly appreciated by the Ministry of Health, Bangladesh Government, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and others. Inspired by the initiative, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) now sends letters to all the telecommunication service providers every year urging them to send SMS to all their subscribers.
Public service announcement in two main newspapers
Grameenphone supports this effort by printing public service announcement in two of the dailies with the highest circulation and readership – The Daily Star and Prothom Alo.
Popular folk songs
GP also runs decorated vans full of a group of “Baol Singers” across the Dhaka City Corporation during the national immunization day.. These traditional folk singers create a festive mode and inspire the city dwellers to get their children to the nearest vaccination center.
Every Sight Counts
Bangladesh has the highest number of blind people compared to its population. There are approximately 750,000 adults and 40,000 children in Bangladesh who are blind due to cataract or other ocular diseases that could have easily been cured with timely and proper intervention.
The major challenge in eliminating blindness in Bangladesh is reaching the rural and underserved population, as the majority of country’s eye-care facilities are based in towns. 80 percent of Bangladeshis who live in rural areas are almost completely deprived of eye-care services.
Jointly launched in 1999 by WHO and IAPB, to eradicate blindness from the world by the year 2020.As a part of the country’s mission to combat blindness, Grameenphone, in partnership with Sightsavers Bangladesh is a signatory of VISION 2020:
Right to Sight, a global initiative.
International, organizes free eye camps throughout the country, in areas where eye-care services are not readily available.Grameenphone, along with Sightsavers International, organizes the eye camps in different parts of the country. Prior to the eye-camps, community-based public announcements are carried out in targeted localities to ensure optimal participation in the community. During the eye camps, two types of services are provided: free prescriptions based on necessary medical check-ups and free cataract surgery, if necessary.
During the project period (2007 – 2010) around 36,327 patients received free eye-care support and 4,743 cataract surgeries being performed so far from 24 eye camps have been conducted in different parts of Bangladesh.
Grameenphone Pilot TeleDermatology in Bangladesh
Grameenphone is collaborating with the Telemedicine Working Group of Bangladesh to bring quality dermatology care to rural communities.
In Bangladesh, approximately 30 percent of the population will suffer from a skin disease at one point during their lifetime. However, there are fewer than 300 dermatologists in Bangladesh and all of them are urban-based, leaving most rural people without access to treatment. As part of Corporate Responsibility program, Grameenphone is bringing dermatology to rural residents through a new pilot project.
Grameenphone is implementing this project at four of their Community Information Centers (CIC). These local hubs for Internet and mobile services are now host to remote, real-time patient consultations with specialized doctors. They are able to consult with a physician live with the help of Digital Imaging and Communication in Telemedicine (DICOT) as well as Telemedicine Information, Management and Education System (TIMES). The digitalized system will also provide both printed and online prescriptions and maintains a database of each consultation for future reference. Telemedicine services at CICs (4 in pilot phase) have shown an increase in accessibility and affordability of specialized consultations for the rural underprivileged community. ‘Telemedicine’ has successfully consulted & treated more than 1500 patients from mid February till date.
The pilot phase would continue up to Q2 of 2013. We are planning to do an evaluation of this phase tentatively on July 2013. We are doing some feasibility to improve the telemedicine device to address other health issues & services.
Focus on healthcare needs in Bangladesh
Grameenphone, being a responsible citizen of Bangladesh, is recognized for its social responsibilities especially towards the less privileged. We are putting a special focus on the healthcare needs of our country.
Safe Motherhood and Infant Care (SMIC)
Motherhood is celebrated as one of the most extraordinary times in a woman's life. But the reality in Bangladesh is striking.
With only 13 percent of women delivering their babies with skilled attendants present, the country reports one of the highest maternal mortality rates (320 per 100,000) and infant mortality rates (52 per 1,000) in Asia (BDHS 2005).
Safe motherhood is not only vital to avoid untimely and painful maternal and child deaths, but also to nurture a healthy and prosperous nation. As a result, reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health have been identified as two of the United Nations’ eight millennium development goals. Grameenphone’s Safe Motherhood & Infant Care Project is designed to ensure free yet quality safe motherhood and infant care services to poor mothers and their infants throughout the country. It also aims to assist in necessary infrastructure development and the expansion of basic healthcare services, especially in the hard-to-reach and remote areas. The project was launched in 2007.
In partnership with Pathfinder International and through USAID’s network of Smiling Sun clinics in 61 districts, free primary healthcare services are being provided by health professionals via 318 static clinics, 8000 satellite clinics and 6000 community-based health-workers across the country. In addition, Grameenphone has introduced clinics-on-wheels (i.e. mobile mini-hospital) to complement these existing service touch-points, in order to enhance the accessibility of services in remote areas.
During the project period (2007-2010) a total of 1,703,767 maternal and child care services provided to economically disadvantaged mothers and infants. Patiya and Bhola clinics at the coastal belt were upgraded to emergency obstetric care centers.
10 motorized vans were provided to facilitate better patients’ referral and home delivery (HD) services by skilled birth attendants (SBA).
Four clinics-on-wheels are used to increase the accessibility of services in the hard-to-reach areas.
Ensuring Safe Drinking Water
Lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities are a significant barrier to improving the health and wellbeing and reducing poverty in Bangladesh. Salinity in ground and surface water, arsenic contamination of shallow aquifer, lack of aquifer and difficulties in extracting saline free water are some of the causes.
Together, unclean water and poor sanitation are a leading cause of child mortality: an estimated 4,100 children die daily from diarrheal diseases, which are spread through poor sanitation and hygiene. As with many challenges in development, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by scarcities of clean water and adequate sanitation. Women are more than twice as likely as men to be responsible for water collection. On average, women in the developing world on an average walk six kilometers each day to collect water, time which could be spent in school or at work.
From Grameenphone CR, we have come forward to relieve their burden by introducing a SMS based solution through which if a tubewell gets non-functional the caretaker will generate a SMS and send to 2765. This SMS will go to HYSAWA Head Office as well as to the local mechanics. The mechanics then come and repair the tubewell and send SMS to the same port.
A database is maintained at HYSAWA head office for all the tubwell installed. This contains, besides the functional status, an identification number, Installation date, Depth, Water quality (Arsenic, Iron, Cloride etc.) and Caretaker’s Name & mobile number.
HYSAWA works alongside the Government of Bangladesh to contribute towards reaching MDG targets and national commitments on poverty reduction through WASH interventions.