Period covered: 1 January to 10 June 2003
The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 180 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org
During the reporting period the political climate in Bangladesh remained largely unchanged, complex and always challenging. Fewer Hartals (country-wide strikes) have been experienced. During the war in Iraq, Bangladesh, experienced increased tension including regular weekly demonstrations. Prompt and rapid response by the government has prevented any serious incidents taking place.
Currently Bangladesh is considered as a strong candidate for the position of Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference. If elected, new opportunities would arise for further strengthening of the existing links and enhancement of cooperation with respective sister Red Crescent Societies whose countries are members of the Organization of Islamic Conference.
In early January the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) responded rapidly to an emergency situation created by an unusually severe cold spell in Bangladesh which resulted in the deaths of more than 760 people.
The Federation allocated CHF 50,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), in order to assist 75,000 of the most affected population with blankets, warm clothing and high-protein food. The relief items were provided in 35 districts of Bangladesh.
In April and May several tropical storms and tornados lashed the country. The BDRCS national headquarters, after receiving assessment reports from its units, responded immediately utilizing its buffer stocks. More than 6,940 beneficiaries were assisted in the five districts of Kishoreganj, Brahmanbaria, Faridpur, Bogra and Noakhali. Among relief items distributed were 1,388 family kits and 147 cartons of high protein biscuits.
The next four months are expected to be a critical period for Bangladesh with the commencement of the monsoon season, which each year results in heavy flooding nationwide. Coordination is currently underway with the BDRCS's disaster management department including relief, transport, logistics, finance and health.
1. Health and Care BDRCS youth and volunteers conducting search and rescue operation - ferry accident site
Bangladesh Red Crescent health programmes include curative and preventive aspects of health care, implemented through five general hospitals, nine health clinics and two specialized eye clinics. These institutions provide both inpatient and ambulatory services to the community. The National Society also has a nationwide network of 60 mother and child health (MCH) centres, in some of which management responsibility has been successfully devolved to the communities that use their services. Located in rural areas, these centres provide essential primary health care support (prenatal and postnatal care, training of traditional birth attendants in safe delivery practices and limited curative care for mothers and children 'Under Five') at community level.
Overall Goal: The health status and life chances of vulnerable people in Bangladesh are improved.
Programme Objective and expected results: Increased capacity of the Bangladesh Red Crescent to contribute effectively to the reduction of health vulnerability in Bangladesh.
- Increased capacity of Bangladesh Red Crescent to contribute effectively to a reduction in the national incidence of HIV/AIDS and to promote and provide support to people living with the syndrome.
- Decreased incidence of vaccine preventable and vector borne diseases.
- Increased road safety and access to First Aid on highways.
- BDRCS increased ability to deliver effective support to targeted vulnerable communities in which morbidity and mortality among mothers and children are reduced.
- Improved recruitment and retention of voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors.
- Coordination cell of BDRCS arranged a colourful rally to highlight the HIV/AIDS anti-stigma campaign on 8 May 2003. The Chairman of BDRCS, managing board members, officers, staff and Red Crescent youth volunteers participated in the rally wearing Red Ribbon T-shirts and displayed colourful placards, banners etc.
- BDRCS added HIV/AIDS information into all life skill, first-aid and other training programmes.
- BDRCS hosted strategic planning workshop on HIV/AIDS (country level) on 28-30 April 2003.
- Incorporated information on HIV/AIDS into different training courses. So far 15,000 CPP volunteers at coastal belt have received information on HIV/AIDS through different training courses.
- Dissemination information on HIV/AIDS transmission organized in five BDRCS blood centres.
- HIV/AIDS awareness information added to BDRCS training manual.
- Project proposals have been submitted to GOB, UNICEF, and SDC.
- BDRCS HIV/AIDS strategic planning developed.
- Increased awareness about HIV/AIDS among youth volunteers, service providers, policy makers.
- BDRCS became a partner in HIV/AIDS activities with GOB, NGO and INGO.
- More clients of Public Health Care programmes are aware of HIV/AIDS and related stigma. Over 300 volunteers and Unit Liaison Officers participated in the rally organized on 8th May (Anti-stigma rally on HIV/AIDS). All of them have been trained on HIV/AIDS.
Due to financial constrains several activities have not been implemented to date (i.e.: Training of Trainers, Peer Education programme, establishment of Hotline, mail box and telephone counselling service, STD management, capacity building for the service providers).
Project: Vaccine Preventable and Vector born diseases:
- Over 500 trained volunteers actively participated in National Immunization Day (NID).
- Red Cross Youth (RCY) volunteers vaccinated over 100,000 NID missed under-5 children.
- RCY volunteers conducted a prevention campaign against dengue fever in Dhaka City.
- Linkage with GO and NGO established.
- Over 500 RCY volunteers are trained for deployment in activities linked to National Immunization Day (NID) and vector born disease control.
- Growing numbers of the public are aware of NID, vaccine preventable and vector born diseases.
A large number of NID missed under-5 children have been vaccinated and other vaccine preventable and vector born diseases reducing the level and number of vulnerability of "floating" children. The BDRCS organized several rallies on the subjects of NID and vaccine preventable disease control attracting participation of hundreds of volunteers and community people.
As the program has been implemented jointly by the BDRCS and the government, the management on both sides are involved in the process of organizing the Red Crescent Youth (RCY) and community volunteers to conduct the NID operation for eradication of Polio and prevention of vaccine preventable and vector born diseases. The management has faced certain problems in executing the joint operation which at times caused some delays. It is expected with more joint operation carried out the experience will help to avoid similar problems in the future. Joint training programs are being anticipated for the future.
Project: Community Based First Aid and First Aid:
- Continuous First Aid awareness campaigns by BDRCS targeting the public.
- RCY volunteers are fully motivated and enthusiastic about First Aid application.
- Acknowledgment of Fist Aid importance within the BDRCS authorities and personnel.
- Based on preliminary figures provided by the Ministry of Transportation, highway accident rates (mortality) have been reduced. There are approximately 15,000 to 20,000 people killed annually on the roads of Bangladesh. During the reporting period, these numbers have been relatively low which could be related to many factors, among which, the increased ability among the general population in providing first aid assistance to the victims in the time of the accident. One of the major problems in the country is the poor communications system, which makes it extremely difficult to get accurate and up-to-date figures, as many incidents and assistance provided remain unreported. It is assumed that casualty and accident rates are reduced due to community awareness but the actual decrease in the rates has not yet been measured.
- The training on First Aid for RCY and community volunteers has faced some constraints with being implemented, and the First Aid posts on major high ways, as stipulated in the appeal 2003, have not yet been established. Additionally, referral management has not been improved due to funding constraints.
- Current organizational and operational management provided by the BDRCS require further training and is currently lacking the adequate resources to be able to run efficient First Aid interventions.
Project: Mother and Child Health care - (MCH)
- A total of 10 MCH centres were renovated by the end of 2002 and are functional. Antenatal, delivery and postnatal services, as well as curative services for patients are available. Only one centre has no facilities for institutional delivery due to lack of space. In three MCH centres pathology services are available for three basic tests (haemoglobin, albumin, sugar and pregnancy test).
- The number of general patients in each centre has doubled during the period of January 2003 through May 2003, which is very encouraging. Promotion of the centres and the quality of service given encourages more clients to come. In January 2002 a total of 1,109 general patients' clients visited nine centres, in May 2002 a total of 2,238 general patients received services from the nine centres under Dhaka division.
- All trainings have been completed in 2002. No new trainings were conducted for the health care providers in 2003.
- All ten MCH centres were successfully involved in the NID days of polio in April and May 2003. Seven centres have Expanding Program of Immunization (EPI) services provided at doorstep.
- Overall it is assumed that the centres make a positive impact on the health status of the beneficiaries. Clients use the centres for their good services provided, and they do not use other service providers. No impact measurements have been done Mother and Child Health Centres - Training of Community Health Volunteers.
In terms of health related outcomes and behaviour change of the clients.
- No clients for family planning are recorded in ten centres, and no clients for pathology services are recorded in seven centres.
- The relationship with the government has improved, and the MCH centres are recognised as part of the immunisation chain. At the same time, this is an opportunity for the centre to promote its activities to the mothers with young children.
- Integrated health services are not yet available in all MCH centres. Only three MCH centres provide pathology services, and not all centres are used as EPI outlets from the government. More linkages with the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) need to be established to develop integrated door-to-door services, which will be even more convenient for the clients.
- Due to fund transaction problems and devaluation of the foreign currency, the programme to start training for local community midwives has not yet begun. The same applies to pathology training, which was foreseen as an activity and will be done in the next two months.
- Not all centres have EPI services yet provided by the government. The middle management and supervisors of the project need to establish links with the relevant local health administration in order to attract these services in the centre. During the yearly planning of the health ministry, the change of EPI places is possible, and therefore MCH centres can be used as outlets in the future.
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