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Bytesforall Bangladesh team went to Uzirpur Upazilla Health Complex in Barisal of Southern Bangladesh to document an interesting and innovative health financing model where poor villagers have been connected to a hospital database and were given health cards for the purpose of providing all possible outdoor healthcare services that are meant to be free for them. Once registered they can even receive notification via SMS and can have minor medical issues addressed directly via the cellphones. So far more than 1000 patients have been benefited through this service.

Dr. A K Shamsuddin, Upazilla Health Officer of Uzirpur Health Complex participated an innovation workshop at a2i of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and piloted this idea at Uzirpur Health Complex where he works. He explained his first step was to prepare a database of poor patients in the area by doing a door to door survey and identifying people who subscribes to Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) program of the Government. VGF cardholders are usually a part of very poor population segment. The database also included freedom fighters, physically disabled people in the community. All collected data has been verified with the Government list of VGF card holders and with Upazilla Chairman Office. Once the names are confirmed, these are included into a database and provided with a health card. These health cards enable them to get an unique ID number and a password to a secured website where patient’s information along with past history of illness, diagnostic results, medicine list are saved. Patients can retrieve this information anytime they like using this website.

Dr. Shamsuddin also mentioned that this project doesn’t have high cost. All the services supported through this health financing model are already there, his database based health card services actually automated these. Hospital staffs including the physicians are providing volunteering time. The project is also receiving small funding from the Upazilla Parishad (local government office) and from the Ministry of Social Welfare of Bangladesh.

Watch the video here.

Bytesforall Bangladesh carried out this initiative as part of an APC grant, with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

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