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Dengue cases in Bangladesh reach nearly 1,00,000

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Dengue positive cases in Bangladesh reached 99,994 this year as 2134 fresh cases were reported overnight and 10 patients died during the same period.

In 2019, the country saw 1,01,354 cases, the highest dengue positive patients in a single year since the mosquito-borne disease was identified in the country for the first time.

According to the experts, August and September are normally considered as peak months for dengue disease but the peak period has extended till November last year.

They predicted that the ongoing dengue outbreak may prolong till November as a large number of Aedes mosquitoes are grown this year while met office forecasts that rainy weather is likely to extend during the months of October and November.
 
The health experts including entomologists feared dengue cases and deaths will exceed all previous records this year as the number of cases and fatalities continue to rise, signaling an alarming trend.
 
They also warned the dengue situation may deteriorate this month and in the upcoming month, asking authorities concerned to launch a massive campaign against all types of mosquitoes.

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“During the period, 785 dengue patients were hospitalised in Dhaka city while 1,349 were admitted to different hospitals outside Dhaka,” a press release of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.

“This year, 476 deaths, the highest in a year since dengue was detected in 2000, were reported from dengue disease while 281 died last year,” the daily statement of the DGHS said.

“A total of 7,582 dengue patients are undergoing treatment at different hospitals. Of them, 3,532 are in Dhaka while 4,050 are outside the capital city,” it added.

According to the DGHS statement, among the total dengue positive cases, 37,640 are female and 62,354 are male while 272 deaths from dengue are female and 204 male.

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Dissemination Event: Child Labour Action-Research-Innovation in South and South-Eastern Asia (CLARISSA)

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A dissemination event was organized in BRAC Centre Inn, Mohakhali on developing innovative and context-appropriate ways to increase options for children to avoid engagement in hazardous, exploitative labor in Bangladesh. The event titled, “From Evidence to Action: Collaborating to Combat Child Labor” was organized by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), Terre des Hommes Foundation, and Grambangla Unnayan Committee in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies, UK. The event presented the key results and emerging policy recommendations of studies conducted under Child Labor: Action-Research-Innovation in South and South-Eastern Asia (CLARISSA) program. 

The CLARISSA program uses Systemic Action Research and other participatory methods with children and other stakeholders in the selected supply chains and urban neighbourhoods to understand the dynamics which drive the worst forms of child labor (WFCL) and to generate participatory innovations which will help address underlying dynamics and mitigate their worst effects. 

During the opening ceremony, Dr Imran Matin, Executive Director of BIGD, highlighted that the research had brought to light a number of critical issues. He, along with other speakers, emphasized the need for focused reflection and the development of actionable plans for tackling these challenges in a sustainable manner moving forward.

CLARISSA program overview and key findings were presented by Jiniya Afroze, PhD, CLARISSA Country Coordinator. Three parallel panel discussions were held at the event on informal economy and child labor, adopting child-centered approach to address child labor and social protection.

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AKM Maksud, Executive Director of Grambangla Unnayan Committee presented research findings and discussed about the relationship between informal economy and child labor to find innovative ways to increase options for children to avoid engagement in hazardous, exploitative labor in Bangladesh in the first parallel panel discussion moderated by Professor Monirul Islam Khan, Department of Sociology, University of Dhaka. This session was chaired by Mrs. Hazera Khatun, Joint Secretary, Labor Wing, Ministry of Labor and Employment, Government of Bangladesh, placed great emphasis on Bangladesh’s National Plan of Action to eradicate child labor by 2025. She urged everyone to shift their focus towards solutions rather than dwelling on challenges. In her closing remarks, she stressed the importance of rehabilitating the parents of children engaged in the most severe forms of child labor and called for collaborative efforts from al stakeholders.

In the second parallel session titled “Child-centered Approach to Address Child Labor”, Surojit Kundu, Senior Participatory Action Researcher, CLARISSA discussed how children’s voice and their agency are critical to enhance the impact and success of programs aimed at improving the overall child labor situation in the country. This session was moderated by Fatema Khyrunnahar, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF and Md. Haider Ali, Joint Secretary and General Manager, Dhaka South City Corporation, was present as a chair, he said that the government remains steadfast in its commitment to preserving fields and playing spaces while ensuring equal opportunities for all to utilize them. Recognizing poverty as a primary driver of child labor, he urged everyone to heighten their awareness and consciousness regarding this issue.

Keetie Roelen, Co-program investigator of CLARISSA program, presented findings from the trial of an innovative social policy intervention for tackling poverty, improving wellbeing, and addressing the causes of the worst forms of child labor (WFCL) in the third parallel session titled ‘Social Protection’. This session was moderated by Maheen Sultan, Senior Fellow of Practice, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development. Chair of this session Dr Abu Saleh Mustafa Kamal, Director General, Department of Social Services, Government of Bangladesh talked about government’s strong initiative to enhance social security for the peripheral community and their children in Bangladesh. He also praised the SP cash+ intervention of the project. 

Mr. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Senior Advisor, BIGD and former Cabinet Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh, chaired the closing session and gave his insight into collaborating of the different stakeholders from the government to implement National Plan of Action to eradicate child labour by 2025. He also urged the development practitioners to hold on to their passion to eradicate child labour from the country.

In closing Mr. Peter Tylor, Director of Research, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, said, “This project played an important role by listening to the voice of the children whose voice are not always heard.” He said that contextual knowledge from the children in labour will be very important in future to continue the journey of abolishing child labour. 

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Chief guest, Mr. H.M. Ibrahim, MP, Head, Parliamentary Standing Committee, Ministry of Labor and Employment, Government of Bangladesh said that the government will look into the recommendations from this project. And said government is determined to ensure education for all the children. He also emphasized on the NPA to eradicate child labour by 2025.

Special guest, Mr. K.M. Abdus Salam, Senior Secretary, Bangladesh Parliament Secretariat concluded by putting emphasis on the integrated approach to end child labour in Bangladesh by 2025. He gave importance on the coordination of different state and non-state stakeholders.

Speakers at the event discussed to improve understanding of the factors that drive the worst form of child labor and to develop innovative interventions to counteract them. Recommendations to reduce child labor, poor labor standards and lack of occupational safety, implementation of the National Plan of Action to Eliminate Child Labor (2021-2025) also came up in the discussion.

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ToT on ROP screening, treatment of ROP held

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A training program for the trainers (ToT) on screening and management of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), an eye condition that can lead to blindness in preterm babies and infants with low birth weight, was held at the National Institute of Ophthalmology & Hospital (NIO&H) on Thursday (November 16). 

Dr Golam Mostafa, Director-cum-Professor at NIO&H and Line Director at National Eye Care (NEC), inaugurated the training as the chief guest while Dr Munir Ahmed, Country Director at Orbis International, among others, spoke at the inaugural ceremony.

NEC and Orbis International organised the inaugural ceremony of the training programme that marked International Prematurity Day, which is observed on November 17 worldwide.

Prof Dipak Kumar Nag, Secretary General of the Ophthalmological Society of Bangladesh (OSB), and Dr Khair Ahmed Choudhury, Associate Professor and Head of the Paediatric Ophthalmology Department at NIO&H, were present at the programme as the guests of honour.

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Prof Mostofa, in his speech, said training, especially in a clinical subject like ROP, is very important for ophthalmologists. “This is very timely initiative and we need to expand this training across the country to ensure that ROP screening and treatment services are available and accessible to premature babies,” he added.

Mostofa said emphasis needs to be put on awareness raising at the community level where vision centres or community eye care centres can play a vital role in the prevention of childhood blindness caused by ROP. 

Dr Munir also highlighted the importance of the training. He said Orbis International has been working on capacity building in ROP screening and treatment services in Bangladesh since 2012. According to him, capacity building is important in two respects, firstly on public health perspectives and secondly on clinical perspectives. 

ROP is a unique vaso-proliferative disorder affecting the avascular retina of premature and low birth-weight neonates. If not detected and treated timely, it can quickly progress to blinding stage. Timely screening (within 30 days of life) and treatment on early stage of ROP can prevent blindness.

According to UN, more than 3 million children are born every year in Bangladesh, of them 12.5 percent or around 400,000 are born premature. According to a national survey, 22.6 percent of babies are born with low birth weight (below 2.5 Kg) in Bangladesh.

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Over the last decade, Bangladesh has made notable success in health and economic sectors that led to a visible reduction of infant and child mortality, maternal mortality and avoidable blindness and improvement in its new-born care. Global evidence suggests that enhancing the capacity to deliver maternal, new-born, child health, eye care services, reducing maternal, child mortality, and increasing access to quality health services have played leading roles in preventing avoidable childhood blindness. 

ROP remains one of the leading preventable causes of blindness in children in the developing world like Bangladesh.

Since 2019 more than 2500 babies were screened and around 74 babies were treated for ROP supported by Orbis alone. Orbis has also played a significant role in developing national ROP guideline for screening and management and committed to support in capacity building areas of interested partners. To date, Orbis has established five screening and referral facilities in Dhaka and remote rural districts and thriving to connect with tertiary referral hospitals such as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute & Hospital. 

Orbis’s advocacy resulted in prioritising ROP in the NEC and also convinced UNICEF to provide eight RetCam to the government hospitals/institutions.  On November 17 of each year, International Prematurity Day is observed worldwide and Bangladesh is no exception. Orbis initiated the training on the eve of this important event together with NEC.

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Banglalink app offers free healthcare for dengue treatment

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Banglalink is offering free emergency healthcare to patients with Dengue symptoms through its one-stop digital solutions platform, MyBL Super App, to further enhance its commitment to providing comprehensive care and support to users across Bangladesh.
From August 22, 2023, onward, the “BL Care” segment of MyBL Super App will offer users doctor consultations, specifically designed to address Dengue concerns, completely free of charge and within just 10 minutes of requesting an appointment.
Taimur Rahman, Chief Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Officer, Banglalink, said, “At Banglalink, we are committed to supporting the people of Bangladesh in times of need by leveraging our technological expertise to make meaningful contributions to the communities and citizens of Bangladesh. With the Dengue epidemic significantly impacting our nation, we are dedicated to aiding the government’s efforts in early detection and efficient management of Dengue by providing widespread access to expert medical guidance through MyBL Super App and safeguarding the well-being of our valued users.”
Banglalink is committed to enhancing healthcare accessibility, solidifying its role in leveraging technology to improve the healthcare and well-being of the people of Bangladesh. MyBL Super App’s BL Care segment aims to make healthcare accessible and affordable all across the nation. Additionally, MyBL Super App offers its users the opportunity to experience the seamless convenience of high-quality digital services for education through Courses, entertainment through Content & Gaming, and much more.

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