07 April 2024

Empowering communities: Asma Akter's fight against lead poisoning

A rural road strewn with dried straws winds its way to Bimile Community Clinic, where a 37-year-old community healthcare provider, Asma Akter, is engaged in a community session. Asma is discussing the impact of lead poisoning with a group of 15 local women while their children play nearby. Situated in Tangail's Jamurki union, this clinic serves as…, Combatting lead exposure, Asma got to know about the adverse effects of lead poisoning on human health during a workshop organized by UNICEF in August 2023, which included 468 other community healthcare providers. This workshop worked as a catalyst in her journey towards combating lead poisoning. Reflecting on the workshop, Asma recalls, "During the workshop, I learned how…, Asma Akter conducting an engaging community session, educating local women about lead poisoning., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Haque Asma Akter conducting an engaging community session, educating local women about lead poisoning., Asma Akter conducting an engaging community session, educating local women about lead poisoning., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Haque Asma Akter conducting an engaging community session, educating local women about lead poisoning. Asma Akter conducting an engaging community session, educating local women about lead poisoning. However, Asma faced a unique challenge while advocating for preventive measures. Located at Gorai Union, lying within 60…, Empowering healthcare providers, To equip communities with the knowledge and achieve impactful reductions in lead exposure, 648 healthcare workers, educators, medical doctors, and community healthcare providers underwent comprehensive training in 2023 on lead poisoning prevention and management. The training was based on  the National  Guideline on Lead Poisoning Prevention and…, Coordinated efforts for a lead-free future, The joint effort between the Government of Bangladesh and UNICEF provides vital support to community healthcare providers like Asma. In the mission to combat lead poisoning, aiming to create a safer environment for all children and their families in Bangladesh, these collaborative initiatives play a crucial role in broadening the reach and impact…
14 March 2024

Young Mohin’s fight against a silent but fatal adversary

In the serene expanse of Mirzapur, Tangail, a stark tale unfolds – one that mirrors the resilience of a community grappling with the unseen perils of lead poisoning. Gorai in Mirzapur – an area under high threat of lead poisoning – is home to Mohin, a 14-year-old boy studying at the local high school. Mohin tells us the story of how an informal…, Unseen dangers , ‘Before the battery factory was shut, children used to play in the area regularly, often taking objects like used batteries, pieces of metal and used items home, unaware of the high lead count in them,” Mohin states in an ominous tone. The effects were not instantly felt in the community, but a lot of the children bringing the items home suffered…, Unveiling the effects , A recent UNICEF-supported Blood Lead Level (BLL) Surveillance study, conducted by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in 2022, identified lead in the blood of the 980 children tested in 4 districts, with BLL higher than 5 µg/dL among 40% of them. The number of children affected is about 35 million in Bangladesh…, Championing change , Amidst the lead pollution crisis and its devastating impact, UNICEF, in partnership with Pure Earth, has played a pivotal role in providing both technical and financial support to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) – primarily through the Protecting Every Child’s Potential (…, Empowering the community , Mohin has learned from the teachers at his school how lead can find its way to the human body, what harms it may cause, what everyday objects are high in lead content and how to avoid the negative effects.   “Our teachers said that lead could be found in everyday items like shiny utensils, children’s toys, batteries, paint and even in some food…
29 February 2024

Teachers breaking the chains of childhood lead poisoning, one classroom at a time

In Mirzapur, Tangail, seventh graders at Maa Fatema School and College  are engaging in lessons  beyond traditional science classes. The classrooms, illuminated by the mid-day sun, have become a powerful setting for imparting life-saving information on ending childhood lead poisoning since the day their science teacher, Abdul Baten Munshi,  took…, Ripple effects of lead poisoning, Bangladesh grapples with the grim reality of being fourth in the world for lead exposure-related deaths. According to reports by the Institute of Health Metrics Evaluation, UNICEF, and Pure Earth, a staggering 35 million children have high blood lead levels, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) requires serious interventions.…, Students actively engage in an interactive session led by their teacher, Abdul Baten Munshi, on raising awareness on lead poison prevention referring to the informative social and behavioural change booklet for crucial insights., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Haque Students actively engage in an interactive session led by their teacher, Abdul Baten Munshi, on raising awareness on lead poison prevention referring to the informative social and behavioural change booklet for crucial insights., Students actively engage in an interactive session led by their teacher, Abdul Baten Munshi, on raising awareness on lead poison prevention referring to the informative social and behavioural change booklet for crucial insights., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Haque Students actively engage in an interactive session led by their teacher, Abdul Baten Munshi, on raising awareness on lead poison prevention referring to the informative social and behavioural change booklet for crucial insights. Students actively engage in an interactive session led by their teacher, Abdul Baten Munshi…, Battling the silent hazard, The government of Bangladesh and UNICEF's joint endeavor played a catalyst in equipping teachers like Baten to prevent lead exposure in rural Bangladesh. Following the workshop in August 2023, where 414 health and education professionals received extensive training on disseminating critical information about lead poisoning, Baten emerged as a…, Changing the narrative, As Mirzapur witnesses a positive shift in awareness, with the once-hidden dangers of lead now exposed, it is essential to emphasize that Abdul Baten is not fighting this battle alone. UNICEF Bangladesh is supporting the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) in designing and…, Investing in teacher training sessions is an investment in community well-being, providing educators with the tools to prevent and manage lead poisoning risks., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Haque Investing in teacher training sessions is an investment in community well-being, providing educators with the tools to prevent and manage lead poisoning risks., Investing in teacher training sessions is an investment in community well-being, providing educators with the tools to prevent and manage lead poisoning risks., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Haque Investing in teacher training sessions is an investment in community well-being, providing educators with the tools to prevent and manage lead poisoning risks. Investing in teacher training sessions is an investment in community well-being, providing educators with the tools to prevent and manage lead poisoning risks.…
21 December 2023

A Mother’s Change of Heart

“I gave birth to my first two daughters at home. I was in severe pain, losing a lot of blood, and the baby would not come out,” recounted Ruma Khatun. “I was scared. My family was scared.” At 24, Ruma had already endured two delayed birth deliveries at home. Her first baby, Joti, was born when Ruma was only 16. Five years later, She gave birth to…, Anxious for her third pregnancy, Ruma lived with Johirul, their daughters, two brothers-in-law, and mother-in-law in the village of Dhamainagar, Rajshahi Division, northwest Bangladesh. Their home was situated alone in an isolated, green paddy field that stretched beyond the horizon, far from the main road. “From our house, the Upazila Health Complex is very far away, and in the…, Community health worker, midwife, and a change of heart, Three months into her pregnancy, Ruma met Sadia Islam, a community health worker 2  who had been going from door to door encouraging mothers in the village to visit the Dhamainagarhat Community Clinic, where the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) and UNICEF recently launched Reaching Every Mother and Newborn (REMN) program . With the goal of being…, Sagarika gives Ruma a check-up at the Dhamainagarhat Community Clinic., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Paul Ruma and Johirul visit the Dhamainagarhat Community Clinic. REMN22.JPG, Ruma and Johirul visit the Dhamainagarhat Community Clinic., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Paul Sagarika gives Ruma a check-up at the Dhamainagarhat Community Clinic. Ruma and Johirul visit the Dhamainagarhat Community Clinic., Ruhi, a bundle of joy, Three-month-old Ruhi was bubbly and curious. With cheek against cheek, hands holding Ruhi’s fingers, Ruma softly beamed with pride and happiness. Ruma gives Ruhi a bath in the morning. REMN04.JPG, Ruma gives Ruhi a bath in the morning., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Paul Ruma plays with Ruhi after changing her clothes. REMN08.JPG, Ruma plays with Ruhi after changing her clothes., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Paul Ruma gives Ruhi a bath in the morning. Ruma plays with Ruhi after changing her clothes. “I gave birth to her with confidence because there were skilled midwives who delivered my baby. They made me trust that my baby would be healthy, and I would be healthy as well,” commented Ruma. Ruma holds Ruhi in their house. Ruma…
30 November 2023

When every breath is no longer a luxury

DHAKA, Bangladesh – “My child was having seizures. My mind was not working. I couldn’t figure out what to do,” remembered Sharmin Siddiki about her previous night. As Sharmin talked, her three-year-old child, Fatima, was drifting into sleep. Amid the rhythmic sounds of the UNICEF-supported oxygen equipment, Fatima’s eyes closed. Her mouth and nose…, Seizure, pneumonia, and interrupted oxygen, In the dead of night the day before, Fatima had a seizure. During a moment of despair, Sharmin thought that her only child would not make it till dawn. Holding the feverish girl in her lap, Sharmin left the house and waved for a rickshaw to rush to Mugda Medical College Hospital. As soon as she made it to the hospital, Fatima had the next seizure…, During COVID-19, breathing was a luxury, For years, Efteara had taken care of sick children like Fatima and saw firsthand the heart-wrenching impact of lacking oxygen care. Many patients and newborns needed uninterrupted oxygen but had to take turns using oxygen cylinders, which also couldn’t meet the needs of all patients. And when oxygen therapy was available, there were potential fire…, Fatima’s recuperation, To Sharmin’s relief, Fatima was immediately moved to a bed equipped with a UNICEF-supported centrally supplied oxygen outlet, which delivered oxygen directly to each patient. Medical staff and nurses like Efteara no longer had to move oxygen cylinders from bed to bed. Instead, patients could easily receive uninterrupted oxygen from their beds. “My…, Planting seeds for a better future, During the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the contribution of donors, UNICEF supported the Government of Bangladesh to strengthen oxygen infrastructure and equipment throughout the country. “What we didn’t have in the beginning was a vision of what an oxygen system looks like. And this initiative has helped us to discuss this and develop a system of…, Nurses at Mugda Medical College Hospital attend a UNICEF-supported training workshop on fire safety in the hospital., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/ Paul Efteara learns how to put out a fire during a UNICEF-supported training on fire safety at Mugda Medical College Hospital., Efteara learns how to put out a fire during a UNICEF-supported training on fire safety at Mugda Medical College Hospital., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Paul Nurses at Mugda Medical College Hospital attend a UNICEF-supported training workshop on fire safety in the hospital. Efteara learns how to put out a fire during a UNICEF-supported training on fire safety at Mugda Medical College Hospital. “The central oxygen system has made the treatment easier and accessible for…, For every child like Fatima, quality oxygen care, Since 2021, thousands of children in Bangladesh like Fatima have benefited from the UNICEF-supported initiative. UNICEF will continue to support the Government of Bangladesh to strengthen its health system and improve the quality of care for newborns and children, ensuring that every child like Fatima can survive and thrive to their full potential…
31 October 2023

Ramping up dengue response by expanding access to testing kits

Twelve-year-old Shourov had been suffering from high fever for two days. Despite his mother's best efforts to provide him with treatment and care at home, Shourov’s condition showed no signs of improvement. He was diagnosed with dengue and was immediately admitted to Shaheed Ahsan Ullah Master General Hospital in Tongi, Gazipur, when his parents…, Challenges in managing a health crisis,  “We often grapple with a shortage of human resources, making it challenging to manage all our duties while providing treatment and care to each patient. However, despite these obstacles, at the end of the day we feel satisfied about the fact that we have been able to conduct timely tests for our patients. Having a steady supply of testing kits…, A family’s journey of dealing with dengue, After five days of treatment, Shourov was ready to get discharged, a moment he had eagerly awaited. When asked what he missed the most during his hospital stay, he said, "I miss going to school and playing with my friends after classes." His mother shared that Shourov loved going to school and never missed his classes but had been unable to attend…, Collaborative approach to control dengue, Swift diagnosis, along with appropriate treatment, is crucial for recovering from dengue and getting back to normal life. Since the onset of the dengue crisis, UNICEF has delivered critical medical supplies, including testing kits with over 126,000 tests, and is also supporting the Government with building capacities of healthcare staff, providing…, Each dengue test kit supplied by UNICEF consists of at least 10 test strips., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Haque Each dengue test kit supplied by UNICEF consists of at least 10 test strips., Each dengue test kit supplied by UNICEF consists of at least 10 test strips., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Haque Each dengue test kit supplied by UNICEF consists of at least 10 test strips. Each dengue test kit supplied by UNICEF consists of at least 10 test strips. “UNICEF’s support in supplying the dengue tests has been instrumental in managing the surge in cases. Their timely delivery has been a lifesaver for our community.…
17 September 2023

Community leaders come forward to protect at-risk families against dengue

As a new day begins in Dhalpur - a ward in Jatrabari, Dhaka - Sheuli Khatun, a dedicated field supervisor at the Dhalpur Aalo Clinic, gets ready to start her work in the local community. Sheuli's unwavering commitment to her community's health has never been more crucial, especially in the face of the alarming dengue outbreak that has gripped…, A constant battle, As of September 2023, the dengue outbreak in Bangladesh has spread to all 64 districts, with over 750 dengue-related deaths reported by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Additionally, more than 25,000 cases of dengue have been reported among children under the age of 15, which is a huge cause for concern. Sheuli's words highlight…, Spreading the message, Sheuli's commitment, however, doesn't stop at the clinic's doors. She is part of a larger effort, with UNICEF as a crucial partner, in spreading awareness and mobilizing the community. Through risk communication and community engagement initiatives, UNICEF is on the ground, planning and coordinating. Community leaders like Sheuli and community…, Sheuli Khatun and community volunteer Tahmina Begum speak to their community about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Mawa Sheuli Khatun and community volunteer Tahmina Begum speak to their community about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka., Sheuli Khatun and community volunteer Tahmina Begum speak to their community about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Mawa Sheuli Khatun and community volunteer Tahmina Begum speak to their community about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka. Sheuli Khatun and community volunteer Tahmina Begum speak to their community about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka. Armed with pamphlets and hand mikes, Sheuli and her team conduct door-to-door…, Sheuli Khatun and Tahmina Begum speak to their students and mothers about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Mawa Sheuli Khatun and Tahmina Begum speak to their students and mothers about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka. Dengue prevention _4.JPG, Sheuli Khatun and Tahmina Begum speak to their students and mothers about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Mawa Sheuli Khatun and Tahmina Begum speak to their students and mothers about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka. Sheuli Khatun and Tahmina Begum speak to their students and mothers about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka. In the bustling local vegetable market, they engage vendors and customers, with Sheuli emphasizing…, Voices of the faithful, Sheuli and her team forge alliances even within the community's spiritual centers. They collaborate with the Imams, local religious leaders, encouraging them to incorporate dengue prevention messages during public prayers, using the mosque's loudspeakers to disseminate life-saving information. Sheuli underscores the importance, saying, "Since the…, Tahmina Begum speaks to Imams at the mosque about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Mawa Tahmina Begum speaks to Imams at the mosque about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka., Tahmina Begum speaks to Imams at the mosque about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Mawa Tahmina Begum speaks to Imams at the mosque about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka. Tahmina Begum speaks to Imams at the mosque about dengue prevention in Dhalpur, Dhaka. UNICEF has also engaged with the Islamic Foundation of Bangladesh, leveraging their pivotal role in spreading accurate and actionable information…, A unified front, By joining forces with the Government of Bangladesh and other partners, UNICEF is dedicated to tackling the dengue outbreak head-on, ensuring a safer and healthier future for all. To protect children and to respond to this public health emergency, UNICEF is also delivering USD 2.25 million worth of urgently needed testing kits, training of…
14 September 2023

Midwife Razia's journey to combat lead poisoning in Mirzapur

“Children are extremely vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning. However, if parents have the knowledge early on of how to mitigate its effects – their children will live a better life,” says Razia Sultana Tania resolutely. Razia is a young midwife who is the lifeline of the Upazila Health Complex in Zamurki, Mirzapur. With specialized…, An invisible threat, Lead poisoning is a silent and pervasive problem, especially in Bangladesh, with devastating effects on children's development and overall health. It is particularly destructive to babies and children under the age of five, because it can cause irreparable harm to children’s brains and hamper their ability to develop fully. Moderate to high levels…, Empowering the frontlines, In March 2023, a total of 35 health and education staff were trained as resource persons to support subnational capacity building activities using the recently developed national clinical management guideline on lead poisoning. Then, between May and August 2023, a total of 379 health care providers received training in four selected districts,…, Officials speak to health workers at the training on clinical management of lead poisoning in Mirzapur, Tangail., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Salek Officials speak to health workers at the training on clinical management of lead poisoning in Mirzapur, Tangail., Officials speak to health workers at the training on clinical management of lead poisoning in Mirzapur, Tangail., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Salek Officials speak to health workers at the training on clinical management of lead poisoning in Mirzapur, Tangail. Officials speak to health workers at the training on clinical management of lead poisoning in Mirzapur, Tangail. The training covered the background and situation of lead poisoning in Bangladesh, principal…, A voice of prevention, The training transformed Razia's approach to her work. She emerged from the program not only as a healthcare provider but as a beacon of knowledge and empowerment. With a deep understanding of lead poisoning and how it could affect the communities around her, Razia has become a trusted resource person in the health complex. Her newfound expertise…, Razia speaks to members of the community while on duty at the Upazila Health Complex in Mirzapur, Tangail., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Emran Razia speaks to members of the community while on duty at the Upazila Health Complex in Mirzapur, Tangail., Razia speaks to members of the community while on duty at the Upazila Health Complex in Mirzapur, Tangail., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Emran Razia speaks to members of the community while on duty at the Upazila Health Complex in Mirzapur, Tangail. Razia speaks to members of the community while on duty at the Upazila Health Complex in Mirzapur, Tangail. Amid her busy schedule, Razia took a moment to reflect on the impact of this training on her community. "…, A transformative partnership, Razia's dedication extends beyond the clinic walls. She has become a passionate advocate for lead poisoning prevention, spreading awareness about the principal sources of lead exposure, such as contaminated water, paint, and household items to pregnant and new mothers, making a significant difference in the lives of the families she serves. UNICEF…
14 September 2023

Roundtable Discussion on Dengue Response: Uniting efforts for a resilient future

In the wake of a critical dengue situation, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to organize a dialogue among key stakeholders on the ongoing dengue response in the country. Chaired by Mr. Zahed Maleque, MP, Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the discussions called upon relevant line ministries and authorities…, A public health crisis cutting across the nation, The dengue outbreak has spread to 64 districts, starting almost a month earlier than previous years. Worldwide climate change is exacerbating the spread of vector-borne diseases like dengue, directly impacting the lives of children and adults. In Bangladesh, according to DGHS, one out of every five patients is a child below the age of 15, which…, Mobilizing resources to protect communities, This year’s dengue outbreak is affecting several countries in South Asia. However, Bangladesh is continuing to record a large number of cases. To support the Government, UNICEF is delivering USD 2.25 million worth of urgently needed support, which includes supplies of testing kits and training of professionals, along with other critical supplies…, Strengthening synergies, Bangladesh's approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic underscored its capacity to control and combat epidemics, showcasing the nation's ability to make coordinated efforts and effectively disseminate instructions. For this, the discussions also looked at other examples in South Asia, where countries have managed to control the spread of dengue.…