BRAC

BRAC

Dr. Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health professor of population and family health, was nominated by the U.S.-based Ronald McDonald House Charities for its 2017 “Medical Award of Excellence”. The award is given for outstanding contribution to improve the health and wellbeing of children.

[Photo: Dr. Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury]

Dr. Mushtaque Chowdhury, who joined the Mailman School in 2004, is also vice chairperson of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) in Bangladesh, which is particularly concerned with poverty alleviation, education, and health.  He is the founding dean of BRAC University’s James P. Grant School of Public Health in Bangladesh and also founded the Research and Evaluation Division of BRAC. With over 50,000 full-time staff, BRAC is one of the largest non-governmental development organizations in the world. Dr. Chowdhury is also a board member of South Asia Centre of London School of Economics, president of Asian Action Alliance for Human Resources in Health (AAAH) and lead group member of UN’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

In addition to his ties to Bangladesh, Dr. Chowdhury has worked internationally in Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand, China, and Ethiopia. From 2009 – 2012, he served as senior advisor at the Rockefeller Foundation, Thailand, overseeing the health portfolio of the Foundation in Asia. In 2013, the Lancet published a profile of Dr. Chowdhury.

Among the previous winners of the Medical Award of Excellence are former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, former U.S. first ladies Barbara Bush and Betty Ford, Health Minister of Rwanda Dr. Agnes Binagwaho and Queen Noor of Jordan.

Currently, the charity is working in more than 64 countries and regions in the world to ensure children’s healthcare and wellbeing.

The award will be presented to Dr. Chowdhury at a gala in Chicago on Nov 11. To honor Dr. Mushtaque, Ronald McDonald House Charities will present a grant of $100,000 to a non-profit organization selected by him.

 

BRAC provides critical support for paralegal advisory services, which train young people to support vulnerable justice seekers in prisons as well as a range of institutions of the criminal justice system. This partnership began under a bilateral project of Ministry of Home Affairs, starting in one district in 2008, and is now working in 11 out of 40 districts.

 

It has been a pleasure working with BRAC. The HRLS team has been extremely responsive, open to suggestions and willing to try new ideas. We are excited about the new models that BRAC is developing to offer property rights related services in a sustainable manner to the most vulnerable segments of the population in Bangladesh.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 00:00

BRAC’s immediate response in Cox’s Bazar area

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The recent influx of people from Rakhine state of Myanmar is of great concern. BRAC is responding to support families in need with humanitarian assistance. We are working to provide immediate aid to those who have just arrived from Myanmar in need of food, shelter, medical care, water, sanitation and hygiene, trauma counselling and other emergency support.  

Our activities are closely coordinated with other government and non-governmental agencies, including the International Organisation for Migration, which is leading the effort.

We will continue to support all people living in poverty no matter their race or background, in pursuit of creating a world where every person has the opportunity to realise their potential.

 

 

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As reported on 12 September 2017, more than 370,000 people from Rakhine State of Myanmar have entered Bangladesh since 25 August 2017. The population density is increasing mostly around Ukhia (Balukhali and Kutupalong) and Teknaf (Shamlapur and Leda) sub-districts. This has raised serious WaSH and health concerns for the host community, registered camp population and settlers in makeshift camps who have previously arrived in Cox’s Bazar. Most of the new arrivals are vulnerable; pregnant and lactating mothers, and children separated from their families.

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In coordination with IOM and other stakeholders working to assist the new influx population in the makeshift settlement, BRAC will provide

 

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Borlaug Blog Slideshow Graphics FIN A6C74C4E1ADE5

By Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, 2015 World Food Prize Laureate

"When I began working with farmers struggling with poverty in 1972, I was a young accountant, fresh from a job in the finance department of Shell Oil. I had lofty ideas of how I could help transform our new nation, Bangladesh, which was then one of the poorest countries on earth. I thought that if we could empower the poor by providing services like livelihood training, literacy classes and health and family planning, they would be able to vanquish the extreme poverty and hunger they had endured for far too long.

The world was quite a different place then. Bangladesh had gone through a bloody war for independence, and the world’s great powers were locked in a struggle between freedom and totalitarianism. The Green Revolution was still in its infancy, but we knew the vast promise it held for it had already delivered spectacular increases in cereal crop yields in India, West Pakistan and the Philippines; for this, Norman Borlaug had won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970..." Read full article here.

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The deadly floods and landslides in Freetown, Sierra Leone have caused large-scale destruction in the city. Heavy rains caused floods and mud slides without prior warning on the night of 14 August. Parts of the Sugar Loaf Mountain collapsed on the edge of the city in the Regent area.

These disasters have caused many residents to become homeless overnight. Authorities have urged affected residents to move to safer grounds as rescue operations continue. As of 15 August, 297 people have been reported killed with many more still missing.

BRAC in Sierra Leone is planning to donate USD 20,000 to the President Emergency Relief Fund; half of the amount will be given in cash while the rest will comprise of food and clothing for affected families.

The office of National Security has requested support from development partners in the form of medicine, food, WASH, clothing, and burial materials.

The government of Sierra Leone has declared a seven-day mourning period.

 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017 00:00

Severe floods and landslides in Nepal

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The recent floods and landslides have caused widespread destruction and casualties in 26 districts of Nepal. The death toll has reached 115 people with another 38 still reported missing. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes.

In Janakpur, villagers are struggling to find dry and safe places as almost all the settlements in the sub-metropolis have been inundated. Water, food and medicine are scarce and people are drinking contaminated water. There is an increase in patients with waterborne diseases according to the local hospitals.

The Government has anticipated huge losses in the agriculture sector; in the Terai districts alone the losses could amount to NPR 2.86 billion.

The floods have caused wildlife devastation as well. A rhinoceros and six deer were found dead near Triveni river bank in Nawalparasi district on Monday.

BRAC in Nepal attending coordination meetings and collecting information about the affected areas.

 

Thursday, 17 August 2017 00:00

BRAC Nursery

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BRAC Nursery, previously known as the Social Forestry Programme, was set up in 1988 to provide high quality seeds to small and marginal farmers to increase agricultural productivity and farm earnings.The enterprise uses a variety of activities to increase awareness about the necessity of planting trees and to increase the number and variety of trees not only to meet the basic needs such as timber, fuel and fruit but also to restore the ecological balance.

We aim to maintain and improve ecological balance through forestation and contribute towards increasing environmental awareness alongside of generating income and employment. This year we have been awarded the First Prize in the National Tree Plantation and Tree Fair by Bangladesh Forest Department, Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Thursday, 10 August 2017 00:00

Bangladesh Health Watch Report 2016 launched

Non-communicable disease control major challenge
Lack of service for women and children

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Inadequacies in non-communicable disease control measures pose a major threat in the country’s health sector despite other commendable achievements in improving the healthcare services. Particularly, there is a serious shortage in healthcare services in this regard for women and children. Insufficient infrastructure and lack of preparedness to meet the patient demands are also part of the scenario.

Speakers discussed these issues at the launch ceremony of the sixth Bangladesh Health Watch Report 2016 today on Thursday (10 August 2017) at the BRAC Centre Auditorium in the capital.

The event titled ‘Non-Communicable Diseases in Bangladesh: Current Scenario and Future Directions’ had Nahin Razzaq MP, member of the parliament standing committee on youth and sports ministry, as its chief guest.

Simeen Mahmud, head (acting) of Gender Studied Cluster, and coordinator of Centre for Gender and Social Transformation, Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Development, BRAC University, chaired the programme.

Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Jane Edmondson, Dhaka Office head of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, and Anders Ohstrom, head of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, spoke among others at the event.

Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, vice-chairman of BRAC, gave the welcome address.

Nahin Razzaq MP said, ‘With the increased prevalence of non-communicable diseases the government has started investing in this area. We are going to formulate an action plan on next month. We have also increased emphasis on young people’s engagement in sports and cultural activities.’

Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said, ‘Although the government is implementing many commendable programmes, due only to some wrong policies non-communicable diseases is heading towards a crisis situation. The organ transplant law that the government has recently enacted is not practical. I believe, the government could have the law formulated with directions that allowed not only close relatives but anyone to donate kidney.’

The report presented data and analysis on the nature and risk factors regarding the non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh. The challenges highlighted in the report among others include: One, Mainstreaming non-communicable disease service provision at the primary healthcare level, two, Non-functioning regulatory framework and lack of coordination at the national level and three, lack of robust national database incorporating data from rural and urban areas as well as public and private sources for regular and strong surveillance of such diseases.

To mitigate the challenges the report has put forward five challenges:

  1. Build awareness across the society about the urgency of tackling non-communicable diseases and its consequential impact on poverty alleviation, economic development and achieving the universal healthcare policy.
  2. Develop an integrated, multi-sector approach to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases with the health and family welfare ministry in the lead.
  3. Strengthen the current health systems at all levels to address non-communicable diseases, focusing on human and physical capacity of the primary healthcare services for early diagnosis and treatment, follow-up services and disease risk reduction.
  4. Establish a comprehensive national-level surveillance system for the four major non-communicable diseases.
  5. Generate evidence for preventive and curative service delivery regarding non-communicable diseases effectively and efficiently, keeping equity and universal coverage in focus.
  6. The report also stressed that a ‘concerted, strategic, and multi-sectoral policy approach’ is essential to tackle the emerging epidemic of non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh.

Download the report

 

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Dr Jim Kim and international development community hail BRAC as a global leader in ending extreme poverty


On Sunday, 23 July 2017, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson, BRAC shared the stage with Dr Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group at the annual RESULTS International Conference held in Washington, DC.

At the plenary titled Going the Last Mile, Dr Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund, recognised Sir Fazle and Dr Kim as two global leaders and practical visionaries who did “what the world had said was too hard or even impossible”, played a critical role in fighting tuberculosis, and had what it will take to get to the last mile in ending extreme poverty.


Sir Fazle talked about the motivation behind BRAC’s globally successful graduation programme; reaching those trapped in ultra poverty.


Dr Kim emphasised the need for governments today to invest in their own people and move away from supply-driven investments to demand-driven investments.

Both Sir Abed and Dr Kim highlighted the role that women can play in fighting poverty, and the need to mobilise them as ‘agents of change’ for poverty alleviation.


In his closing remarks, Dr Kim expressed his concern of rising aspirations everywhere;

 “We are racing against time and the sense of urgency we have today is greater than it was ever before,” he said. “We have to get better at thinking about the foundations of human solidarity. We have to find a way forward. We have to commit and recommit to equality of opportunity,” he concluded.


Representatives from BRAC presented the details of their graduation programme in a separate panel with panellists from the University of New Hampshire, Uplift and the RESULTS Educational Fund. This session provided the opportunity to understand the various forms of social protection and livelihood programmes and the need to make such programmes more comprehensive, adaptive and scalable in order to reach the extreme poor and provide them with better support to help escape poverty sustainably.