There are hundreds of stories like Prantosh’s, and their work is often seen as a chance to develop their leadership skills and improve community life since, for them, becoming a community worker is synonymous with becoming agents of change
Prantosh Chandra Roy is a community health worker in the rural community of Birganj Upazila of Dinajpur, a northern district of Bangladesh.
The 31-year-old inspiring youth administers maternal and child health-related services to around 35-40 people daily under Takeda Healthy Village Project led by World Vision Japan.
As Birganj is a tribal area with poor transportation facilities, Prantosh is creating a unique impression and aspiration on the rural community with his life-saving interventions.
He travels for around half an hour on his motorbike to reach his office, the Boro Karimpur community health service centre.
Once there, Prantosh travels on his two-wheelers around the area because there is no mode of public transportation there. With absolute focus and dedication, Prantosh spares no effort to make sure that every mother and child in the village is provided with their required health service.
He works alongside a dedicated team of World Vision workers and village leaders to serve the rural communities' fundamental healthcare needs, i.e. immunisation, family planning, sanitation, infectious disease prevention/care and antenatal/delivery care.
He represents the great many community health workers who selflessly, often through extreme impediments, render medical care at the grass-roots levels throughout the nation.
Very often they are the community's first helping point for all healthcare services. This makes their work significant, for they can make the community aware of critical medical interventions and bring about pragmatic changes in people's lives.
"I like this job because this has allowed me to develop close relationships with the community, which has a direct impact on how I carry out and feel about my work," says Prantosh.
He started this altruistic journey with the Takeda Healthy Village Project, supported by World Vision Japan.
After receiving three-month government training on essential health services, and through several capacity building trainings on health monitoring and information management facilitated by World Vision, he improved his own family's health and worked with the community clinic team to eliminate child malnourishment from his community.
"When I was selected to become a community health worker, I felt the responsibility to serve because it started like something I volunteered for and then I saw it as something 'I have to do'. It's like a duty and I just have to do it. That is what motivates me. It's the sense of responsibility that keeps me going," says Prantosh confidently.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, he is providing special hygiene and nutrition advice to mothers and their children, especially to eat vegetables and fruits to strengthen their immune system.
He also guides them on the importance of staying home, using masks, washing hands with soap, and keeping social distancing.
Moreover, he prints leaflets with Covid-19 health awareness messages at his own cost to distribute them among the people of the community.
When Prantosh travels across the area on motor-bike, he plays the recorded government's health prevention messages to make certain that every household in the village maintains proper health safety measures.
"Community people are sometimes reluctant to follow proper sanitation practices, but as a medical professional, I know that Coronavirus is a communicable disease. So, I use Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) while attending any people including children," says Prantosh.
Accordingly, he has set up a hand-washing corner with soap in front of the clinic for mothers, and shows them pragmatic hand-washing techniques so that they can teach the same to their families and children at home.
He also motivates them to ensure psycho-social and spiritual wellbeing of their children through quality family time.
Furthermore, he is providing telemedicine service to about 598 pregnant and lactating mothers on an urgent basis. Simultaneously, he informs the community people of the government hotline numbers 109 and 1098 to report any child abuse case.
There are hundreds of stories like Prantosh's, and their work is often seen as a chance to develop their leadership skills and improve community life since, for them, becoming a community worker is synonymous with becoming agents of change.
"I like to work with children and see them grow happily. I give them vitamins, check on them and talk to their mothers so everyone understands. Now more people come to see the doctor and accept the vaccines," said Prantosh.
"You all have to go out and see what needs the community has, and do something about it. That's why you are a development worker", he added with a smile.
[This content is sponsored by World Vision Bangladesh]