Adolescence, a critical period for physical and mental growth, is the age that meets many changes in body and mind and requires awareness of healthcare and additional nutrition to shape a better future. Unfortunately, in rural Bangladesh, the health and nutritional needs of adolescent girls and boys (aged 10 to 19) remain unattended, resulting in long-term diseases and health hazards.
The PPEPP-EU project breaks this barrier by organising specialised health camps for adolescent girls with the help of locally available specialised doctors supported by the project’s trained nutrition staff and health workers.
PPEPP-EU’s downstream partner organisations arrange these health camps across the 145 working unions of 12 districts of Bangladesh where there are no healthcare facilities such as Community Clinics or the existing facilities are not fully functional.
Such health camps are proven to be worthy for adolescent girls and boys from extremely poor households who cannot access essential healthcare services and hygiene products and do not have knowledge of adolescent changes, menstrual hygiene or reproductive health issues.
Suraia Khatun (15), daughter of a PPEPP-EU member Sabina Begum from Khulna’s Terokhada union, was suffering from irregular menstruation and white discharge. She felt too shy to discuss the issues with her family and was frustrated not knowing where to reach a doctor.
Recently, Suraia visited a health camp where the doctor prescribed her medicines and shared some advice, and she feels better now. Suraia said, ‘It was a great relief to share my issues with the doctor. She was very kind to hear me out and suggested that I take nutritious food and maintain hygiene to get rid of my problems in the long term.’
During the health camps, specialised doctors from nearby government healthcare facilities offer advice, treatment, and medicines to adolescent girls for gynaecological diseases and adolescent boys for their general health issues. The health camps also provide referral services to patients needing better treatment or hospitalisation.
These specialised health camps sensitise adolescent girls about physical and mental changes, common gynaecological diseases, reproductive health, nutrition and the importance of menstrual hygiene and sanitary napkins.
Until now, around 6000 adolescent girls have received treatment, referral services and free hygiene products such as sanitary napkins, soap, shampoo and nail-cutter under these health camps.