Munia Mustafa: volunteering halfway around the world

Zoë Donovan, Editor-In-Chief

Munia Mustafa gave a presentation on the healthcare work she did in Bangladesh. Through a Lake Land independent study course, Mustafa was able to earn college credit and gain valuable experience in the healthcare field. While in Bangladesh, Mustafa worked with the Shapla Clinic and was able to gain skills in the hospital setting. Mustafa’s presentation outlined some of the hardships that individuals living in Bangladesh face on a daily basis. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. 80% of individuals living in rural areas lack access to education, infrastructure and healthcare. 62% of healthcare that is available in rural areas is often performed by village doctors who have little to no formal training. Bangladesh has a 66.5% literacy rate in men and a 63% literacy rate for women. Bangladesh ranks #1 for malnourishment. Children who are undernourished or malnourished may not develop the way they should or as quickly as they should. On top of this, the lack of access to nutrition and food can lead to all sorts of other health risks. The lack of proper infrastructure and poor road maintenance often leads to head-on collisions in the streets. Mustafa shared a clip of her trying to cross the street. There are no crosswalks or stop lights, and the drivers and bikers just keep pressing forward as Mustafa tried to weave between them in the video to get to the doors of the clinic. The dense population also means that crowds gather quickly. Mustafa shared another video that she had taken of the Shapla Clinic on a normal weekday. The clinic was packed full of women, men and children, all seeking some kind of care. She also shared that due to this high volume of patients doctors often had to quickly examine patients, and might miss something. She stressed that there needed to be a balance of high-quality care and efficiency. She shared her belief that it is the duty of those in the healthcare profession to help those in need.

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