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     Volume 2 Issue 9 | April 28 , 2007 |


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Journey through Bangldesh

From Patuakhali

Floating Hospital

Sohrab Hossain

It's like a blessing from God”, said Mobarak Ali, 50, who came from far away Panpattee village in Galachipa upazilla for treatment for his rheumatic fever at the floating hospital. Sitting beside him in the waiting room of the ship were Mannan, Kalam, Mahbub, Momela and Rabeya. They were full of praise for the doctors and other staff of MVHS-Shapla Ship Clinic, which is run by Tree Des Homes of Netherlands under its Coastal Island Health Project. It has all the facilities to treat common illnesses as well as for minor surgery.

The waiting room was full of women, children and men of different ages. Long queues stretched beyond the corridor. The floating hospital has been traveling from place to place providing medical services to poor people in the Patuakhali district since 2000. It is of great help to the people of remote low-lying areas who otherwise find it very difficult to get to government hospitals. Marium, 18, cradling her six-month-old daughter, was preparing to leave. She came for the treatment of her frail daughter. The doctor told her she would be all right if she was given enough breast milk. “This is good advice I did not know. They also advised me to take vegetables. If I am getting enough nutrition, my daughter will get enough milk”, she said. Many women like her are happy after receiving free consultation and medicine.

Abul Kalam Azad, Manager of the clinic, said that over 200 patients came to the hospital for treatment every day. Over 3 lakh patients have been treated since January 2000. “Those who went to quacks earlier now come here for free advice and medicine,” he said. “If necessary, we forward patients to upazilla health complexes or hospitals in the district town,” he added.

There are three doctors including one female at the hospital. All are qualified professionals. Common diseases including cardiac problems, skin diseases, ENT problems, and rheumatic problems are treated at the hospital. Minor surgery is also done. Addionally, family planning and health education services are provided. There is a ten taka registration fee from each patient.

The clinic provides the service six days a week to different parts of Galachipa and Kalapara upazilla in the district. It is available at Amkhola Bazar on Saturday, at Baliatali Bazar on Sunday, at Tegachia Bazar on Monday, at Panpattee Bazar on Tuesday, at Tualatali Bazar on Wednesday and Baher Char Bazar on Thursday. It has a well-equipped pathological laboratory where patients get their blood, urine and stool tested at a very low cost. There are modern ECG machines and an auto analyzer machine. The ship is staffed with 23 personnel and the ships activities are evaluated every three months by a team from abroad.


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