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Working towards better healthcare

  • Published at 04:13 pm November 19th, 2019
D2_November 2019_Sajida Foundation
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Sajida Foundation and team Broken Earth successfully complete the 4th “International Training Course on High Risk Labour and Delivery Management"

SAJIDA Foundation and Team Broken Earth, a team of Canadian health professionals, completed a hands-on training program on the best practices of high risk labour and delivery management. The three-day long event took place from November 12 to 14. The ceremony was chaired by National Prof Dr Shahla Khatun and inaugurated by Md Abul Kalam Azad, Director General Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfares. Also present at the event was Gabrielle Mathieu, Honourable First Secretary – Development, Canadian High Commission to Bangladesh.

Zahida Fizza Kabir, Executive Director, SAJIDA Foundation, said in her welcome speech: “Bangladesh is gradually moving into digitizing the health systems, as the enormity of the need we see is being addressed through technology, and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this movement through our combined efforts with Team Broken Earth.”

Md Abul Kalam Azad expressed his appreciation for the contributions towards Bangladesh from Team Broken Earth and SAJIDA Foundation. “Being the Director-General of Health Services,” he shared, “I not only work for Health Information System but also towards improving the health services in the country, and your efforts have created opportunities not only for us to learn and scale, but for other organizations to follow and create a bigger impact.”

The three-day comprehensive training is based on the high burdens of maternal and new-born mortality during intra and postpartum periods in Bangladesh. It was designed to ensure that the learnings be applied to combat the maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in Bangladesh. It works as a highly relevant initiative in the improvement of care in this field for health practitioners like physicians, nurses, and midwives alike. The course is aimed to provide an understanding of the latest best practices and will help health practitioners in providing better care for women during labor, their fetuses, as well as new-borns and their families.

In his opening speech, Andrew Furey, CEO and founder of Team Broken Earth, spoke about his shared goals with SAJIDA Foundation in creating a better tomorrow for the people, where he said: “The real similarities and synergies are in our spirit. We are both bound by hope and united by a tenacious determination to make a difference for the marginalized people here and around the world.” He also added: “As our organizations continue to grow and to work together, SAJIDA and Team Broken Earth will continue to make a real difference.”

We got the chance to talk to Andrew Furey, and further discuss his work. 

Tell us a little bit about how you thought of creating Broken Earth.

We started Broken Earth in the year 2010, after the earthquake in Haiti, which was devastating. We completed 50 successful medical treatments there and realized very quickly that we can treat as many people as we want, but the real key should be educating them about it. And that is why I kind of shifted to teaching people about the basic and important aspects of medical treatment. That is how Broken Earth came to be and expanded outside Haiti, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Guatemala. 

Could you share any specific story that you experienced in these places with Broken Earth?

The one that led me to create Broken Earth after the earthquake was, while treating people in tents, and I treated a gentlemen whose care-giver was a recently orphaned 12 year-old girl. The girl lost her parents in the earthquake but still, she was taking care of her grandfather. When I came out of the operation theatre she shook my hand and thanked me with grace. She had just lost her parents and her grandfather was injured, too, but in all that chaos the hope in her eyes made me think of creating Broken Earth to do better things for people.

How important do you think first-aid knowledge is in these places that you visit?

It is incredibly important; think about if someone falls and injures themself, and they don’t have the access to the medical care or basic first-aid. As an example, if a man -- a 30 year old with a family of five and being the only earning member of the family -- hurts himself badly and sits at home, then it will be difficult for the family to survive. But if someone has first-aid knowledge, they can take proper care of the injury. So it is very important to have at least the basic idea about first-aid.

What differences have you seen in Dhaka since the beginning till now?

For me, it is always overwhelming. The relationship with SAJIDA Foundation and with the participants is getting better with time. Between when we started it and now when I came for the fourth training, the changes have been remarkable. Everyone related to this is trying their best to make themselves perfect by gaining proper training. And that is the most rewarding part for us, as teachers, to see how everyone is engaging themselves and trying to learn.

How do you keep yourself calm as a doctor when you go to places where people are severely injured?

As surgeons, we have to keep calm no matter what and how bad the situation is. That’s one part of our job. And in that case, the truth is to rely on the team -- to work together to make things better for people.

How do you feel about the collaboration with SAJIDA Foundation?

SAJIDA Foundation is very close to my heart, and working with them is always fun and welcoming. I love how the relationship is getting stronger day by day. I would like to continue courses like this all over Bangladesh once a year to make it even better. Also, taking on projects related to child marriage and violence can create a bigger impact. 

Team Broken Earth is a volunteer task force composed of physicians, nurses, and physiotherapists from across Canada and beyond, committed to delivering and improving healthcare where it’s needed most. It was founded under the leadership of Andrew Furey as a relief effort following the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince in 2010, and continues to work in Haiti along with other regions such as Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, where they have extended their services to ensure better healthcare for all. Furey is an orthopedic surgeon at Eastern Health, an associate professor and director of orthopedic research at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and co-chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Bernard Mev Hospital - Project Medicare. This year saw Team Broken Earth’s fourth visit to Bangladesh and the organization raises funds every year in Canada to make this trip possible.

SAJIDA Foundation is a value-driven non-government organization dedicated to its raison d’etre of bringing health, happiness, and dignity in the lives of the marginalized and disadvantaged. The foundation aims to profoundly impact the lives of the urban poor while driving sustainable innovations throughout the nation, and currently works in 23 districts and 4000 villages of Bangladesh.