Health Volunteer (Shasthya Shebika) Kit

Exhibition: Cities | October 10, 2011 by

BRAC, the world’s largest nongovernmental development organization, headquartered in Dhaka, engages a legion of community health volunteers, or Shasthya Shebikas in Bangla, to go door to door in slums and villages to disseminate information on prenatal and child care, family planning, immunization, water and sanitation, and personal hygiene and nutrition. Trained to diagnose and treat common ailments such as dysentery and pneumonia, they are at the core of BRAC’s Essential Health Care program, which reaches one hundred million people in all fifty-four districts of Bangladesh by expanding basic health services for the poorest and most vulnerable, especially women and children.

The Shasthya Shebika mobile medical kit acts as a portable pharmacy, providing essential medicines, vitamins and minerals, delivery kits, pregnancy tests, sanitary napkins, iodized salt, and soap to families in Dhaka’s informal settlements and rural villages. Visiting fifteen households a day, each volunteer generates a modest income from selling medicine and health commodities. Selected by their communities, the more than 85,000 Shasthya Shebikas are the first point of contact between community members and a network of public and private healthcare providers. The successful program has spread from Bangladesh to Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

BRAC. Bangladesh, 1977–present. Medicine, sanitary napkins, delivery kit, soap, salt, registrar, pictorial dosage instructions

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