As the famous saying goes, “Health is wealth”, it indeed is true. A good health is the feeling of mental, physical and social wellbeing. Living a healthy life means making lifestyle choices that support your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. Good health is critical to human happiness and well-being. It also makes a significant input to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, and save more.

However not everyone is fortunate enough to always ensure good health. It is particularly more difficult for marginalized communities. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor health. Poverty increases the chances of poor health. Poor health, in turn, traps communities in poverty. Overcrowded and poor living conditions, lack of food, clean water and proper sanitation are the leading reasons for infectious and neglected tropical diseases that kill and weaken millions of the poorest and most vulnerable people each year.

Very poor and vulnerable people make harsh choices – knowingly putting their health at risk because they cannot see their children go hungry. The cost of doctors’ fees, a course of drugs and transport to reach a health centre can be devastating, both for an individual and their relatives who need to care for them or help them reach and pay for treatment. In the worst cases, the burden of illness may mean that families sell their property, take children out of school to earn a living or even start begging.

Current Scenario in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, there are an estimated 5.809 physicians per 10,000 population (World Bank, 2018). Health workers are mostly concentrated in urban secondary and tertiary hospitals, although 70% of the population lives in rural areas. Major challenges include: an overly- centralized health system, weak governance structure and regulatory framework, weak management and institutional capacity in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). These challenges cause the overall cost of healthcare to rise.

According to a study by icddr,b - around 6.4 million or 4 percent of the population in the country get poorer every year due to excessive costs of healthcare. 64 percent of the total health expenditure comes from people's pockets (global average 32 percent), while 26 percent comes from public funds and 10 percent from external funding by NGOs and development partners.

The healthcare expenditures are largely unpredictable and usually have a negative impact on the poor households, while large expenditures have catastrophic impacts on household welfare. Sudden serious illness often drives the poorest families into debt, income loss and even unemployment. It is observed that a household, on an average, spends 7.5% of its total income for and the poorest 20% spent approximately 13.5% of their income for purchasing health care. Further, normalized gap measures suggest that additional healthcare expenditures incurred by poor households not only raise the poverty prevalence, but also increase the poverty intensity over time. This calls for investment in the health sector as a continuing process, especially in the rural areas, and then the outcomes contribute to sustainable development.

AMAL’s Contribution

We have come to the field to ease pain for the underprivileged people who are far beyond the scene and living a healthy life is almost a luxury for them.. For the last 5 years, Amal has been arranging health camps periodically at various remote areas around the country to provide health consultations and to make people aware about proper hygiene and wellbeing . Our efficient team of doctors provide the underprivileged with health checkups and our team of young volunteers distribute medicines to the ones who need them. We have also collaborated with “4 Billion Health” who support us with our health camps. Apart from that, we have held different kinds of campaigns. At Shonpocha Char Bogra, we have a medical camp where people come for health checkups from time to time. We have our full-fledged team of doctors to look after them and we have medicine partners who support us immensely by providing free medicines for the people who cannot afford it.