Covid-19 pandemic

Community clinics a blessing for grassroots people

BSS, Dhaka

When the deadly Covid-19 has created havoc on the people’s life and livelihood as well as the country’s health system since its outbreak in March last year, the community clinics have been appeared as a blessing for the grassroots people at that critical time.

In such a life-threatening situation, the community health care providers (CHCPs) of the community clinics are continuing to carry out the mission of providing medicare services to the common people at the grassroots level throughout the country amid the pandemic. Many patients are visiting the clinics with Covid-19 symptoms though it is difficult to diagnose. The CHCPs are rendering health care services to the patients risking their life.

The health service providers said the community clinics are providing medicare services to the rural people regularly when many public and private hospitals in urban areas are struggling to keep up their services due to various problems like shortage of doctors, other staff and necessary health equipment.

But at that time, the rural people are getting free treatment and medicines as well from the community clinics across the country. The clinics have become a blessing for the people, especially for women and children.

The common people are getting 30 types of health service including awareness advices about the COVID-19 from the community clinics. The clinics have become the only resort for the people near their houses from where they receive medical treatment during the lockdown (general vacation) across the country.

The countrymen heaved a sigh of relief when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken prompt initiatives to bring COVID vaccines in the country at a time when the rate of infection of the super contagious disease is surging alarmingly.

The people are showing their eagerness to take the vaccine though they were not interested in it at the beginning. Even, many people are visiting their nearby community clinics (CCs) to take the inoculation though it is provided from designated facilities.

Amrit Pramanik, a health care provider of Kushambi Community Clinic in Sirajganj’s Tarash upazila, told BSS that he is rendering health services to the rural people risking his life amid the COVID- 19 situation.

The CHCP said the patients, who are visiting the clinic, are suffering from various seasonal diseases like fever, cough and throat pain. “It’s really difficult for us to diagnose the diseases without test whether a patient is suffering from seasonal fever or infected with coronavirus,” he added.

Pramanik said they are also giving awareness advices to the patients through using CMED apps. “We’re rendering medicare services by maintaining social distancing,” he added.

Rebeka Khatun, a patient, said she could not visit a hospital in her nearby town due to the COVID-19 situation, though she has been suffering from seasonal fever and headache.

“But I went to the community clinic, situated at my village, to take advice and medicines, and like, me many people of the village are visiting the facility regularly,” she said.

Arati Sarker, a patient of Kushambi Community Clinic, said she has been suffering from seasonal fever for last few days. “That’s why, I visited the clinic to get advice and medicines,” she said, adding the government is also distributing free medicines from the facility.

The CHCPs said the health department has provided PPEs, masks, hand sanitizer, hand gloves and other health protection equipment to the community clinics from very beginning of the pandemic.

“We’re rendering health services from 8 am to 12 noon for five days in every week as per the directives of the health department,” they said.

Along with the CHCPs, a health assistant and a family welfare assistant are giving medicare services from each clinic for three days in a week. The number of patients at the facility has also risen sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic situation as the common people become worried to visit hospitals or private clinics.

Community Base Health Care (CBHC) Line Director Professor Dr Sohodev Chnadra Rajbangshi said the CHCPs are providing health services to the rural people with courage amid the COVID- 19 situation.

He said the number of patients has been increased during the coronavirus situation. Health service guidelines given by the World Health Organization (WHO) have been provided to the CHCPs in the beginning of COVID-19 outbreak, Rajbangshi added.

He said the health providers were also imparted a daylong training on collecting sample for COVID-19 test.

Community clinic is a “flagship program” of Awami League government and an innovation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to expand primary health care services to the people’s doorsteps all over rural Bangladesh.

Community clinic official sources said now there are more than 13,861 community clinics in rural areas of the country to facilitate the grassroots people with healthcare services.