Seasonal floods in Bangladesh are caused by the Himalayan snow melting and seasonal monsoons. How can villages in Bangladesh get health care if they don’t have a boat to transport them to regional health care centers? The answer–according to a recent article in The Economist–is that the hospital comes to them.
Three hours’ chug upstream, moored to the opposite bank, looms one of Friendship’s two hospital ships, converted with Mr Chowdhury’s involvement from a flat-bottomed steel barge. Many Char [riverine islands made of silt and sand] Hospitals come to the communities, which are isolated from even primary health care.
The boat moves along the river according to a predetermined schedule and stays at each location for several weeks. On land, corrugated-iron shelters for patients waiting to be treated or recovering after treatment are built. Each year the ships’ 72 doctors, nurses and pharmacists treat 105,000 patients: they deal with everything from skin infections to cooking-fire burns, and also administer vaccines.
Innovation at Work