High-quality healthcare services in rural areas

Achieving Sustainability Towards Healthcare Access (ASTHA) aims at contributing to the development and expansion of sustainable and high-quality healthcare at the community level by training young adults (50% women) from seven rural districts as skilled health workers. The ASTHA-project improves the health and living conditions of the local population and, at the same time, addresses the problem of the high number of un- and underemployed youth in Bangladesh. 
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Nilphamari
25.943674
88.866156
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Sunamganj
25.059394
91.401355
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Patuakhali
22.357842
90.333032
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Lalmonirhat
25.9923398
89.28472510000002
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Rangpur
25.7438916
89.275227
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Sylhet 
24.8949294
91.8687063
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Barguna 
22.0952915
90.11206960000001
Project duration
2019 - 2022

Bangladesh suffers from both a shortage and geographic maldistribution of Human Resources for Health. There are only 8.3 health professionals per 10 000 population in Bangladesh, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 44.5 skilled health professionals per 10 000 population. The availability of primary healthcare services and skilled healthcare professionals is very limited in rural areas in particular.

The Project

ASTHA, formerly known as TARSAN, started in 2011 to address this gap in Bangladesh’s health sector. 
As a result of the project’s previous efforts, the Community Paramedic Training Programme is now an established professional training offered by private and public training institutes and governed by the Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Young men and women acquire medical knowledge and specialised competence in the two-year course for Community Paramedics. Apart from theoretical training with a strong focus on mother-child health, they complete a six-month internship in a hospital. This qualifies them for diagnosis and treatment of frequently occurring diseases that are not complex. Moreover, the graduates are able to provide professional support during pregnancies and assistance at births.

ASTHA is currently in its second four-year project phase (2019-2022). The project works in the four areas:

•    Strengthening Capacity of Community Paramedic Training Institutes in the areas of delivering trainings, marketing, and organisational management.
•    Enhancing Capacity and Service Provision of Community Paramedics to develop, promote and retain quality primary healthcare services in underserved rural areas.
•    Raising awareness on Community Paramedics and their High-Quality Services in the rural communities
•    Sensitising Public and Private Agents to advocate and promote the Community Paramedic Programme at a national scale.

ASTHA Phase II (2019 – 2022) is being implemented in seven districts of Bangladesh: Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat and Rangpur in the north, Sunamganj and Sylhet in the north-east and Barguna and Patuakhali in the south.

Project partners

  • Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • Community Paramedic Training Institutes
  • Alliance of Community Paramedic training institutes
  • Local NGOs
  • Grameen Telecom Trust
  • Auleek Limited

Expected Results

  • 638 participants (at least 50% women) complete the 2-year training.
  • 370 Community Paramedics are self-employed, or salary employed
  • 270 000 community people are informed about the Community Paramedics and their services in their neighbourhood
  • 183 250 community people accessed improved healthcare services

Financing partners

This project is financed by Novartis, the Evi Diethelm Winteler Stiftung, the Laguna Foundation, the Leopold Bachmann Stiftung, among other donors. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. 

Videos for Community Paramedics

General service guideline in the time of Covid-19
(in Bengali)
COVID Symptoms
(in Bengali)

News

Bangladesh
Initial vocational education and training
29.06.2022
ASTHA signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prime Bank Foundation 
Aiming to improve the Community Paramedics (CP) service portfolio, Swisscontact’s ASTHA (Achieving Sustainability Towards Healthcare Access) project recently signed an MoU with Prime Bank Foundation. 
Bangladesh
Initial vocational education and training
23.06.2022
Community Paramedics of Sylhet come forward to serve flood affected families in need
Community Paramedics unite to give emergency healthcare services to the displaced and underprivileged communities of the worst flood affected regions of Sunamganj and Sylhet district.
Bangladesh
Initial vocational education and training
24.04.2022
The e-Learning platform for the Community Paramedic training is now open-source
ASTHA facilitated the access to the e-Learning platform for the Community Paramedic (CP) training curriculum as open-source for all the Community Paramedic Training Institutes (CPTIs) in the country.

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