The Building Blocks of the Government Healthcare System

With a doctor to patient ratio of approximately 1: 3500, Bangladesh faces significant challenges when it comes to providing its citizens with access to healthcare. The government has an extensive healthcare infrastructure, running along the geographical administrative lines, to create a hierarchy that provides primary healthcare and family planning services at the grassroot level and gradually escalates a patient up the chain to more sophisticated care at Upazila or District hospitals. According to the 2012…

Rural Medical Practitioners: The first line of defense in rural healthcare (Part 2)

After informally interviewing about a dozen RMPs, the one question that kept nagging us was the quality of the treatment provided by rural Bangladesh’s most frequently consulted health practitioners. As we mentioned in our previous post on rural health practitioners, as of 2011, there were 130,000 RMPs operating in rural Bangladesh. So we thought that it was time to look into the training institutions that bestowed the RMP certifications. Within Gaibandha, we came across 5…

Infolady: A Technology Twist to an Age-Old Model

During a trip to Gaibandha last week, the mPower team had an opportunity to meet three Infoladies at an event. While door-to-door service delivery is extensively used by governments and development organizations across the developing world, very few have been able to monetize the model. The only instances where a woman (why we say it is always women, please read previous blog post here) has been able to make a living off of selling goods…

Rural Medical Practitioners: The First Line of Defense in Rural Healthcare (Part 1)

Stooping through the doorway to enter what can at best be called a one-room shack stocked with low end medicine, in the sleepy district of Gaibandha, I had my first ever meeting with a ‘Polli-Chikitshak’. For those of you who are less proficient in Bangla, ‘Polli’ is Bangla for village and ‘Chikitshak’ translates to healer/medic. These days however, they prefer to be known as RMPs, or Rural Medical Practitioners. RMPs are the market’s solution to…