An Inspiring Innovator

  Dr. Reza Bin Zaid, a dermatology consultant at BIRDEM hospital, Dhaka, is a doctor with a difference. While the vast majority of medical professionals in Bangladesh are skeptical technology that facilitate remote diagnosis, Dr. Zaid has been successfully running the first instance of telemedicine services in Bangladesh since 2000. As the chairman of the Telemedicine Working Group of Bangladesh, he is currently operating in 16 unions across Bangladesh. Dr. Zaid truly is a rare…

Mobile penetration in rural Bangladesh, and its possibilities

Chikitsha’s “deep dive” to the north was my first long stay in rural Bangladesh after several years, primarily due to a study break abroad. Because of the long break in between, however, this trip showed me a lot of stark contrasts against my last visit memories that I might not otherwise have noticed. Among other things, this trip showed me how fast rural Bangladesh has embraced some new technologies, and I began wondering about all…

Perceptions about Healthcare: Stories from Rural Bangladesh

Having lived in urban centers all my life, I was quite excited to have the opportunity to reside in rural Bangladesh for a week long deep dive- a research endeavor that my team and I undertook to get a basic understanding the typical healthcare experiences of the rural population. My destination was a small village in Niyamatpur in the district of Kishoreganj. The very first thing that struck me early in my experience was the…

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…

BRAC Manoshi: women, technology and the power of free

September 24, 2013 “Apa are you using any contraceptive?” The Shashto Kormi (SK) lowered her voice as she said the word “contraceptive” probably because of the male members of our entourage. The reply was no and the next few questions confirmed that the woman was pregnant. The SK asked more questions, with her assistant diligently writing the answers on a registration card. Finally came out the “technology”. The SK took out her cell phone and…

Questions from the Past

While most NGOs are focusing on underserved rural communities, the BRAC Manoshi project is one that is addressing a problem much closer to home. The Manoshi program is an MNCH (Maternal, Neo-natal and Child Health) service that provides poor, underserved women in the urban slums of Dhaka city with much needed support to deal with the complications of child birth. Since 2010 mPower Social Enterprises Ltd. has been working with BRAC Manoshi to facilitate their…