The journey of establishing the Community Paramedic Association in Patuakhali began in 2014 when ASTHA initiated sensitisation meetings to raise awareness among CPs about the importance of an association. Recognising the need for a collective platform, nearly 200 CPs joined hands to form this platform. However, due to a lack of leadership and administrative skills, the association became inactive shortly after its formation. Undeterred by this initial setback, ASTHA persisted in its efforts and successfully revived the association in 2019 with 30 active members. With continued support from ASTHA, the association played a critical role in organising health camps, sensitisation meetings with government officials, and scientific seminars in collaboration with the local NGOs and Community Paramedic Training Institutes (CPTIs). These initiatives not only enhanced CPs' knowledge but also promoted them within the local community. However, due to a lack of registration and the absence of a legal entity, the association could not take the lead in these initiatives. As a result, the association was not able to realise its full potential.
CP Associations in other project locations (e.g., Nilphamari and Sunamganj) are also facing a similar situation. To address this problem, ASTHA project is supporting the local CP associations to obtain registrations and form legal entities. CP association in Patuakhali is the first one to become registered on 25 May 2023. The Shomobay Shomiti of Patuakhali provided pre-registration training to the association. At the time of registration, the association had 21 active members who collectively contributed BDT 45,000 to cover the registration fee. This significant achievement has laid the foundation for the association to become a sustainable organisation and demonstrated the unity and determination of its members. As the association is now a formal entity, CPs have a recognised platform and expanded horizon of opportunities.
Moving forward, ASTHA remains committed to supporting the association in its upcoming endeavors. The association needs to build its capacity in event management, financial management, and leadership. The project plans to connect them with the relevant training or service providers to build their capacity. In the long run, the association is expected to self-sustain and spearhead future initiatives independently, ensuring continuous improvement of CP services in their communities.
This project is financed by Novartis, the Evi Diethelm Winteler Stiftung, and the Laguna Foundation, among other donors. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).