What did the doctor say?

Publish date 31-10-2022

by Mauro Palombo

Bangladesh: when healthcare comes close

In many realities of the world, nothing is taken for granted, everything is missing. Something so obvious that people don't even realize it. At the mercy of everything, everyday life is a continuous effort and struggle; a much more painful and short life than it could be. What is it that still allows you to live there? Hope, which lives in the heart of every woman and man, and their ability to support each other, take care of each other: in those many moments when that is the only decisive answer. Then, where you meet a man or woman of God, life flourishes!

Our dear Don Renato Rosso, a life among the nomads of the world, many in Bangladesh, has long sown his testimony, and the fruits of community have been born, of people who, in normality, have built the living of their families in the openness to those most in need. Two, brothers David and Robert, who finished university despite their black poverty, dedicate themselves to their Mahali tribal group, in Damkura, near Rajshahi in the northwest. The first "mobile schools" for nomads were born with them, and then a fundamental preparation work for students who have to face the maturity, or the entrance to the University.

Since last year, a new project is being born with them: a "simple" idea, often what is needed to tackle an insoluble problem. Around Damkura there are dozens of villages in inaccessible places, the distance of which are hours of motion - two, three ... - on tracks riddled with holes. No doctors, no nurses, no medicines arrive there. People themselves, in every age afflicted by various diseases, do not conceive of an idea of ​​"health", nor of being able to remedy an illness, or to be able to avoid dying from it prematurely.

The project therefore has as a method that aware people - like Robert - visit the villages, periodically or on request, to talk about hygiene and health, and to learn about the situations that people expose to them. Sometimes it is enough to give a syrup, some ointment. The other cases are "brought" to some doctors, involved as capable and above all available and honest: today three general practitioners, and an orthopedist, who, returning in the evening, can be consulted; in case of urgency, even during the day, by telephone, and, where possible, via the web. If it is necessary to hospitalize someone, Robert takes him with him, sleeps at his house and accompanies him the next day.

Behind each "case" a story. That of an eight-month-old pregnant woman with great pain who "was waiting for something to happen." The doctor contacted her ordered to take her immediately to the hospital - her auto-rickshaw broke records - where a caesarean saved her and her baby. Or the child who fell by fracturing a foot and a knee, swaddled on a straw mattress destined to remain disabled for life, if that same evening a cast had not fixed him.

Clearly, there are expenses, hospitals are not free; Providence is solicited, and it is managed with usual prudence. Simple, large, moving solutions. A "becoming neighbor" to grow, and replicate, in many other places.


Mauro Palombo 

NP Giugno-Luglio 2022 

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