Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Matlab - Going into the Villages!

We woke up bright and early in order to actually go with the healthcare worker to a village. 
These health care workers each visit a village every two months, where they do their population surveillance and checkup on the village community worker. We first visited the house of the community worker. 

The community worker’s are all local women who are already married and can read and write. They are all trained by icddr,b to give appropriate vaccination to the children and birth control counseling to the women.
 As we enter, we see there is a crowd of about 10 women with their babies waiting to be seen. 
We observe as each woman comes forward with their babies and their vaccination records and get the appropriate shot. But instead of simply giving the shot, the community worker teaches the women what this shot is for and what it will prevent in her child.  
As she tells us, this is a very important part of her job. In a country that is grossly overpopulated and in families too poor to care for their kids, she says if women have the knowledge they will be able to change the future of the families. When icddr,b started this counseling, the birth rate was quite high with 7+ babies per household. Now she tells me 2 is the average number of kids in each household.
After we left her house, we went and followed another community health worker who goes to each and every house in his/her area which contains about 200 houses and takes a surveillance. This entails, asking about new births, deaths, immigration, emigration, and etc from each household. 
They also go around and note what method of contraception is used by the women and whether they are using it properly-for e.g they will ask to look at the birth control pill box, and match the number of days that has passed since their last visit and the number left in the box.
It is because of this, that icddr,b also proudly has the longest running longitudinal surveillance in a developing country setting and therefore provides a perfect model to test out public health schemes.
In fact, the effectiveness of zinc in treating acute diarrhea was tested right here in Matlab!

After this exhausting but inspirational day out in the village, we return to our guest house to enjoy the peace and quite of rural Bangladesh.


Post a Comment