By Karmanye Thadani:
In a part of the world like South Asia, where there is a serious dearth of affordable health care facilities for the poor, an initiative by Bangladesh to take health care to the poor by means of waterways (a travelling boat i.e.) comes across as very impressive and very pragmatic, given that the country is criss-crossed by rivers and many people live on the banks of the same. The boat, known as Jibon Tari, goes to the remotest parts of the country and has on board doctors, nurses and medicines.
It is a three-storey hospital but one that is afloat. It is equipped with modern hospital facilities and machinery to provide excellent and affordable medical and surgical treatment to tens of thousands of under-served people. It is 40 meters x 10 meters in size, with an air-conditioned, large surgical theatre with three operating tables, a three bed post-operative room, a twelve bed in-patient ward, an X-ray machine and a pathology laboratory. The initiative dates back to 1999 and is sponsored by Impact Foundation Bangladesh.
Hundreds of thousands of impoverished people have benefited from this laudable initiative, including those suffering from serious disabilities, bringing a smile on the faces of the parents of such children. Besides, the staff on board the ship also trains school teachers and NGO workers on important health-related issues like the prevention of disability.
While there have been somewhat similar projects in India by road and rail, an institutionalized mechanism to reach out to the most remote areas is the need of the hour.Â The UPA talks of a right to education, the right to employment and the right to food but what about the right to affordable basic health care? As a welfare state, don’t we owe it to our people, especially when a slightly left-of-centre party is in power?
[box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]About the author: The author is a freelance writer based in New Delhi and has co-authored two short books, namely ‘Onslaughts on Free Speech in India by Means of Unwarranted Film Bans’ and ‘Women and Sport in India and the World: A Socio-Legal Perspective’.Â To read his other posts, click here.[/box]