Health services used to be very far away for the people in Dhansiri Union, in the southeastern part of Bangladesh. The
Dhansiri people had to commute 30 kilometers for health services in their Kabirhat upazila of Noakhali district.
During the rainy season the roads become muddy and the commute to a health center is extremely difficult for a
pregnant or lactating woman. Therefore, the women in the area had no antenatal, postnatal nor newborn care services.
Deliveries were conducted at home by unskilled traditional birth attendants.
Recently Dhansiri declared a union without a Union Health & Family Welfare Center nor a Family Welfare Visitor to provide maternal health services. People now receive health services at Companiganj or Maidee Upazila, less than 30 kilometers away.
Pervez Alam Buiyan, the Union Parishad Chairman, is a kind man and dedicated to serve his community. In a rainy night in 2011 he saved the life of a woman in labor suffering from eclampsia by arranging her transport to Majdee General Hospital from her village.Previously the union lacked a Union Parishad (UP) building but recently they rented a tin shade building to serve as the UP premises. Paramedic Rebena Katun was deployed by the USAID funded MaMoni Health Systems Strengthening Project to provide services to Dhansiri Union's mothers and their newborn babies.
As the demand for her services grew since December 2013, Pervez Alam saw the need for quality services she was providing and consequently allocated a room for her in the UP building. He also donated necessary furniture like a table, a chair, a bench and a bed for the patients who came to see her. The UP Chairman and the members of the UP were not aware of the importance of antenatal, postnatal nor newborn care questions until MaMoni gave an orientation on maternal, newborn health, family planning and nutrition services.
They had never had a health service provider in their community until Rebena started working there. Pervez saw Rebena Khatun paramedic as an asset for Dhansiri and offered her a work space.
The Union Parishad is currently negotiating with the Upazila Health and Family Planning Officers for a budget allocation for maternal, newborn, family planning and nutrition services.Since December 2013 Rebena has provided services in 692 general health, 367 child health, 573 antenatal care and 84 postnatal matters. She has also had 722 family planning counseling sessions and 29 satellite spots.
Union Parishad Chairman Pervez Alam visits the Paramedic's Room at the UP Building. Paramedic Rebena Khatun at her desk.