Three medical students from the University Medical Center of Groningen, together with head office and field staff of the Friendship’s Health team visited Gaibandha, Bangladesh in May 2022. They joined in the baseline phase of the PRESCRIP-TEC project in Gaibandha Sundarganj,
one of the project locations.
A long but pleasant journey
To be able to conduct the baseline surveys, the Dutch medical students were accompanied from Dhaka to Gaibandha by four Friendship team members. The visit was a memorable and meaningful experience for the students, Friendship team members, and the locals.
Travelling to the Emirate Friendship Hospital (EFH) from Dhaka started with a bus journey. This was followed by driving in a rental vehicle from Polashbari to the river bank. The journey took a total of 13 hours. It was a long and pleasant journey. Thanks to the good company. It set a positive tone for the activities which followed, including the training in using the AWACAN tool.
Challenges during the data collection
The baseline surveys started in the Gaibandha region. On the first day, both Friendship members and medical students faced some challenges and also drew a lot of attention from the community. Locals were extremely curious to know what was happening. By the end of the first day, however, they were informed that a survey would be taking place the following month.
During the trip a total of eight chars were covered. Chars are river islands covered in sedimentation which are found in parts of Bangladesh. Between seven to eight Friendship Community MedicAids (FCMs) were involved as well as a total of 225 participants, covering almost 75 Households.
Due to Eid festival holidays the baseline survey had to stop and was resumed after the public holidays. During this holiday the students also visited the Friendship Centre at Gaibandha and accompanied a few days of baseline surveys there too after the holidays.
After the holidays, students continued helping with the quality assessments of the surveys. The challenges that were experienced at the beginning of the surveys improved with the help of communication between the students and the data collectors.
Some problems were to be expected at the start but by the end of the trip, all were solved. The 8th and 9th of May were the last days of the baseline surveys in Gaibandha.
We would like to thank the entire FRIENDSHIP team and the locals for their hospitality towards the UMCG students and for all their hard work on the project. We hope that they will be able to continue carrying out the activities successfully and with the same effort as they have put in up to now, while facing day-to-day setbacks.
Area: North Gaibandha Sundargonj and Gaibandha Sader
Location: EFH and FHC CCST static Clinic
Participants: FRIENDSHIP Health and three Dutch medical students from University Medical Centre Groningen
Date: 18th May till 9th June 2022