Indeed, thousands of health care providers have been trained and stand ready to support the country as it enters a new phase in ensuring the health and well-being of all Bangladeshis.
The success has been driven by community health providers like Alpana Akter who, for the last decade, has conducted home visits and counseled patients at the Taluk Bani Nagar Community Clinic on lymphedema management. By providers like Golam Mohammed Shahjul Alam, who has spent years providing medicine and treatment to lymphedema patients at the Chini Para Community Clinic. And nurses like Rita Rani Saha, who provides lymphedema treatment to patients at the Patgram Health Complex and supervises other nurses who do the same.
The commitment, skill, and experience of health providers like these are what will carry Bangladesh forward.
Providing care beyond elimination
These health providers will be essential to provide care and pain management for those who have already been disfigured and disabled by LF.
Uddin is one of Alam’s patients. After visiting various clinics and hospitals looking for relief from his lymphedema symptoms, Uddin met with Alam at the Chini Para Community Clinic and learned how to care for his swollen legs, including preventing and managing secondary infections.
“I give [patients] advice regarding the proper care of the legs, show them different kinds of exercises, and help them washing, cleaning and putting cream into their legs to avoid infection,” Alam explained.
“I can work with full energy and can farm. It has a brought a huge change to my life and family,” Uddin said.
A future without the threat of LF in Bangladesh is closer than ever before. As LF-related disability becomes a rarity for new generations in Bangladesh, the country is making sure its health system leaves no one behind.