Free Gynaecology Camp Held by Friendship Shyamnagar Hospital

Local leaders and experts appeal for better healthcare for marginalised communities affected by climate change

A patient holds up her “health card”, a proprietary new system now operational at the Friendship Hospital Shyamnagar. © Tawhid Bin Haque/Friendship
by Iffat Ara Sharmeen
July 7, 2024

Recent natural disasters have been known to be more frequent and more terrifying. Coupled with the effects of climate change, this has led to extensive healthcare problems in the chars. Besides environmental and financial losses, the char people now have climate-related health troubles to deal with. To address these issues, Friendship Shyamnagar Hospital conducted a week-long free gynaecological health camp in its vicinity. The initiative included free consultations for patients, distribution of health cards, local influencer engagement, and a roundtable discussion with local authorities and eminent personalities.

Shyamnagar is a remote border-bound upazila in Satkhira with a population of around 350,000 people. In coastal areas like Shyamnagar, frequent natural disasters, increased water salinity, and health issues are rampant. Here, many women remain unaware of their health problems or deliberately choose silence. Friendship engaged with 15 imams and 17 local influencers to raise awareness about women’s health issues and available treatments, so that women are encouraged to seek treatment at the hospital.

192 patients attended the gynaecological health camp to receive free consultations, follow-ups, and checkups. An additional 100 patients received free eye and dental checkups along with vitals checks, medical history checks, and consultations on other health issues. 192 free sanitary napkin packs were distributed among patients to promote menstrual hygiene. 149 health cards were given out to patients so that they could avail of discounted services in the hospital.

There were multiple kiosks strewn around the premises for registrations, communication, information and education materials. © Tawhid Bin Haque/Friendship

The health card service is the first of its kind in Shyamnagar, through which a patient can avail of special benefits that her whole family could use as well.  A survey was carried out through which patients shared their feedback on the services of Friendship Shyamnagar Hospital and mentioned other needs that required medical attention.

The health camp concluded with a roundtable discussion held on Wednesday, July 4, where local leaders further deconstructed the effects of climate change on healthcare. Speakers noted that marginalized communities, despite limited understanding of climate change, suffer its greatest impacts. These issues are particularly affecting women who already face inadequate healthcare infrastructure and socio-economic barriers to seeking treatment.

Uterus-related health problems are notably severe in villages vulnerable to salinity, with numerous cases reported across unions in Satkhira district. Local authorities urged both public and private healthcare providers to adopt a more proactive approach to address these community health challenges.

192 patients from surrounding villages came and spoke to gynaecologists at the Shyamnagar Friendship Hospital. © Tawhid Bin Haque/Friendship

Jilful Murad Shanu, public relations manager at Friendship moderated the roundtable discussion. Shyamnagar Upazila Parishad chairman Saiduzzaman Sayed shared that communities in this region are at risk of several health issues. He encouraged healthcare centres including Friendship Shyamnagar Hospital to contribute more towards mitigating climate change-related health problems in Shyamnagar.

Friendship head of Communications Tanjina Sharmin added that it is important to not just enhance the quality and extent of healthcare in the area but also to increase awareness among the people. Friendship’s ongoing efforts extend beyond healthcare and include raising awareness.

Deputy director of Health Sector at Friendship Dr. ATM Sanaul Bashar stated that Friendship has a three-tiered approach to healthcare service. This system allows them to cater to the healthcare needs of people from all levels of marginalised communities. Friendship continues to attempt to save lives in this manner.

Shyamnagar Upazila Family Planning officer Dr. Moinul Islam, Shyamnagar Police Station officer-in-charge Rafikul Islam, director of Friendship Shyamnagar Hospital Lt Col. (Retd) Dr. Mojahedul Islam, and several other public and private officials, development practitioners, educational institution representatives, and journalists were also present in the roundtable discussion.

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