Day 5 – disruption and reflections

Today our plans have been disrupted as Dr Kamal, head of ARBAN, advised that we stay in Gulshan where we are staying. This is due to a “hartal”, a huge political protest taking place in central Dhaka. Apparently the crowds can be volatile and anything can happen – and the traffic gets even worse so moving around the city takes even longer – yesterday we think we spent approx 4 hours in the car moving between places which is very frustrating.


So we are “at home”, Jo and I writing our report of what we’ve seen and Charlotte doing some homework.



We are all reflecting on what we’ve experienced this week – we’ve seen someone with leprosy; a girl who had her first baby at 11 and another girl who had recently lost her first baby during a traumatic labour in the slum. In her brown eyes were a deep sadness.

Jo and I have been discussing how best the ARBAN UK clinic can help these women who have very little ante-natal care and therefore no knowledge of any possible complications before they go into labour. They are assisted by “dais”, the older women of the slum, including Rahima, but they have little training and a lot of what they do is founded on old-wives tales – for example, until educated otherwise, they advised mothers to throw out the “first milk” (collustrum) as it was bad for the baby. We have learnt so much this week, now is the time to think about how we can best help.