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Title: Social mobilization help reducing HR gaps at Yusufpur UH&FWC

Yusufpur Union, Charghat Upazilla, Noagoan District

Yusufpur Union Health and Family Welfare Center is located around 17 km away from Charghat Upazila Health Complex. This DGFP owned facility has been providing primary health care services to the whole population 32569 of the union since 1996. Since the beginning, the posted FWV tried her best to provide all MNCH related services like ANC, PNC, FP, etc. except conducting the normal delivery. She was not confident enough with the necessary skill set to conduct the delivery and the added challenge was that she was also physically handicapped. Though the absence of normal delivery service at this facility baffled the local pregnant mothers, specially the poor and ultra-poor of the community as the nearest facility was quite a bit far and the available private facilities are also expensive for them.

Photo title: Mrs. Sheuly Akhter, Family Welfare Visitor at Yousufpur UH&FWC.

Photo credit: Mohammad Ali, Area Coordinator, PHIIR Project, DASCOH Foundation

Thus, though the facility was partially functional since 1996, NVD service was never established due to these long-standing issues. The local authority was unable to provide alternative HR due to shortage of human resource at national level. Then in Aug’20, the FWV herself went for Leave Preparatory to Retirement (LPR) as per government policy. The whole situation become worse than ever before as the basic component of the RMNCH services also became unavailable, which were being provided earlier by her. The Local health authorities and Facility Management Committee (FMC) were struggling to arrive at a solution to overcome this stagnant condition. The community was suffering as absence of health service providers like the FWV and the SACMO were leading to unsafe deliveries at home by traditional birth attendants.

The facility was included in the phase III of the PHIIR project from Oct’19. And since then, efforts have been made under the health system strengthening component to ensure access to quality services at the facilities.  PHIIR project staffs has initiated advocacy with both the FMC members and the local health authorities and Union and Upazila officials to involve them in the process of jointly funding the initiative to recruit and place an FWV to make the center functional. After her departure, during the pandemic the crisis was highlighted and this time the efforts paid off. On Sep’20, an FWV was recruited and placed at the facility, through a mutual agreement for support through joint contribution of DASCOH Foundation and FMC.

Mrs. Sheuli Khatun, the newly recruited FWV is quite committed and is trying to resume all the services she can offer after her deployment. The PHIIR project team also brought in the in-house expertise in the form of project officer health, who started visiting her providing on the job training and mentorship support. She also started advising all visitors on the importance of regular ANC checkups and self-care during the entire pregnancy period followed by safe normal delivery at the facility. Through the engagement of community resource persons or volunteers, PHIIR team also ensured dissemination of the message on the availability of free NVD services followed by PNC at the facility, which was also echoed by the UP chairman and members during all public events they were attending at the time. Immediately after dissemination of the message on her availability along with her services, number of all types of service seekers started to increase, slowly the public notion changed, and pregnant mothers started visiting the facility with the intention to know more about facility delivery.  

Photo title: Mrs. Taslima Khatun with her baby and her husband Israel Hossain, going home after their PNC checkup.

Photo credit: Ibrahim Khalil, Project Officer Community Mobilization, PHIIR Project, DASCOH Foundation

“I came here with my husband Israel Hossain. Before my delivery, I received antenatal care from FWV Apa. She treated me very cordially, advised me about everything that I know now for my baby, and that inspired me to keep in touch with her until my delivery. Moreover, I was able to save some expenses that even my husband thought would cost us, if we had gone to any private clinic at Charghat or Rajshahi. This has helped us a lot in these dire times and I am very grateful to her for keeping my family free of anxiety/tension during these critical times.” This was the comment by Taslima Khatun, an inhabitant from nearby Chak Kapasia village, while she was visiting the facility for their PNC checkup.

Our FWV Ms. Sheuly Akhter is also very happy and confident. “I am more than happy to conduct the deliveries and resume the services after the long gap in this facility. I hope the community people will be happy to know that the normal delivery service is freely available for all pregnant mothers. I wish I can continue my support as long as I am here for ensuring safe and quality maternal and child health services.”

From the time of her deployment, 4 NVDs happened and continuing. Resuming the delivery service at this facility is a good start after the long gap which was a challenge for all. This has brought hope to all in the locality as it’s not possible for most of them to avail or afford similar services from a private facility or even allow for the travel cost.  Yusufpur Union Chairman Alhaz Md. Shafiul Alam (Ratan) said, “I am feeling very happy that the normal delivery service has been resumed at our union centre. Otherwise, people had to move to upazila and district level clinics or hospitals. Now all of them will be benefitted, especially the poor and helpless pregnant women. I will continue to support the FWV and try to raise more funds for better quality of services at the facility.”

About the contributors

Mohammad Ali, Area Coordinator, PHIIR project at DASCOH Foundation compiled the story from Mamunur Rashid, Field Facilitator of PHIIR project.

Dr. Dhiman Dutt, Health Manager from Swiss Red Cross and Dr. Nurun Naher, Deputy Director, Health and Environment from DASCOH Foundation reviewed and finalized the article for submission.