BANGLADESH: Salesian Missionaries Start Foundation to Help Fund Medical Clinic Services
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Bangladesh have started a foundation to support their medical clinic located in Lokhikul, which is in the Naongaon district in the Northeastern part of the country about 70 km from the Ganges River. The medical clinic first started as a place for patients to receive first aid but many are in need of more advanced medical attention. Salesian missionaries who run the clinic often send patients to the city of Rajshahi where there is a hospital but many patients refuse to go because they don’t have the financial resources to pay for services.
To counter this issues, Salesian missionaries have set up the foundation to raise enough funding to bring in more staff, equipment and supplies including medicines to the medical clinic in order to be able to better treat the sick and injured on site. Many people in this region are poor and live within the poorest neighborhoods. They suffer from malnutrition, lack of hygiene, and disease. The lack of doctors and resources to buy the necessary medicines only exacerbates the issues.
“The health of people we serve is very important to us,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The work we do in the Bangladesh and in programs around the globe goes beyond education. We serve the whole person by making sure that basic needs like health and nutrition are met in addition to other social service needs.”
Salesian missionaries have been living and working in Bangladesh for the last six years. They have two main programs at Utrail and at Lokhikul. There is also an educational center at Joypurhat. Salesians working in the country focus their efforts on education and social development services for poor youth and their families. Salesian schools, services and programs throughout Bangladesh are helping to break the cycle of poverty while giving many hope for a more positive and productive future.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries with a population of 156 million people, close to 30 percent of whom live below the national poverty line of US $2 per day. Despite a growing population, Bangladesh experienced a steady decline in poverty between 2000 and 2010 with a 1.8 percent decline annually between 2000 and 2005 and 1.7 percent decline annually between 2005 and 2010, according to the World Bank.
Bangladesh suffers from poor infrastructure, political instability, corruption and insufficient power supplies. Close to 80 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Many people who live in remote and rural areas lack access to education, health care and adequate roads. An estimated 36 percent of the rural population lives below the poverty line and owns no land or assets, experiences persistent food insecurity and often has very little education.
Malnutrition levels in Bangladesh are among the highest in the world with close to 48 percent of children, adolescents and women facing food insecurity, according to UNICEF. In addition to contributing to maternal and child mortality, malnutrition exacts heavy costs from the health care system through excess morbidity, increased premature delivery and elevated risks of heart disease and diabetes. The economic consequences of Bangladesh’s malnutrition problem are profound, resulting in lost productivity and reduced intellectual and learning capacity.
World Bank – Bangladesh Poverty