News Article12/04/2011

Bangladesh team reaches out to the unreachable

a Roving Team travelling at work

In a joint initiative with the Bangladeshi government, Marie Stopes Clinic’s Society’s (MSCS) Roving Teams are now delivering sterilisation services in some of the most remote areas in the country.

Before the Roving Teams became involved, village women had often travelled long distances to government clinics only to find no doctors were available to provide the service they needed. 

One of our Roving Teams took on the challenge, and now the teams and the government health services jointly plan and organise regular "Choice camps".

The Roving Teams provide technical support and skilled doctors and the government health service provides the facilities and clients. Now people in these remote areas know when they travel to a clinic they will be seen and get the service they want.

Each Roving Team is made up of a doctor, paramedic and a field co-ordinator covering a wide, remote rural area of the country.

To bring services to clients, the teams travel long distances, often under very difficult conditions, using any available means of transport including motorbikes, rickshaws and boats.

In some areas, there is no other alternative except to walk across kilometres of muddy roads to get to where they are setting up camp.

Given the distances they travel, the teams set off early in the morning and often don’t return until after midnight, sometimes staying overnight in a health centre as there are no guest houses or hotels.

A typical day for a Roving Team

6am: The eastern sky grows red, signalling that the sun is about to rise. The atmosphere is calm except for the chirping of a few birds and the roar of waves.

7am: The rickshaw carrying the Roving Team reaches the river bank after an hour’s journey from Kishoregonj.

8am: The team is on its way to the Mithamoin Health Complex to provide sterilisation services and long term family planning methods. It’s a three hour journey by trawler.

The boat starts out and only the 'chug-chug' of its engine breaks the morning’s silence. Some team members try to catch up on sleep, others talk about the day ahead.

10am: After two hours, the engine suddenly stops. The boatman tells the team that the rudder won’t move and dives into the water to take a look at it. Unfortunately, it’s broken and for the final part of the journey he has to manually oar the trawler up river.

12 noon: At last, afternoon, the team reach their destination. Waiting for them are clients and their referrers. They, too, have travelled far.

1pm: As the heat of the day takes hold, the team quickly sets up camp and begin to see clients.

The Government and MSCS are delighted with how the initiative is working, as are the clients who are finally getting the services they want.

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Related categories: Bangladesh Family planning Outreach
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