Joyrumkura Hospital Container


By Janne Speirs,  Rotary Club of Traralgon

In 1964 in Joyrumkura (Northern Bangladesh), a hospital built by the Australian Baptist Missionary Society and staffed by Australian Missionary Doctors and nurses (initially) opened for the local people. This was, and still remains, an extremely poor rural area with a high infant mortality rate and the hospital was a major care centre and teaching facility. At the same time, Bill McFarlane from Adelaide, was visiting in a new role with the ABMS. On that first of many visits (his last in 2003) Bill felt a compassion and abiding love for this struggling country which, from twelve years old, I grew up with and still feel myself.

After three failed attempts to accompany Dad to Bangladesh, (by the 1980’s, he had joined Rotary in Adelaide and rapidly become District Governor {D950 – 1986-87} and RIPPR {Philippines, 1989}) I decided I was not meant to visit, until, following his death in 2012, while looking at photos of his 2003 trip, I felt the need to bury some of his ashes there. So, in September 2013, exactly one year after Dad’s death, my husband and I, both now Rotarians ourselves, visited the country which meant so much to Dad, in a “pilgrimage” which eventually led to Joyrumkura hospital, now run by the Garo Baptist Convention and central to their local Community Health Project. There, what I saw seemed to come straight from Dad’s early 1960’s slides and I came away determined to help.

Bob Glindemann from DIK Footscray (who I can never sufficiently thank) was enthusiastic about a container of medical goods, the contact I had with the hospital supplied a wish list and after a considerable delay on the wharves in Chittagong, the equipment finally reached its new home in September 2016. Seeing the photos of the equipment shows what can be done to help those so much less fortunate than us – babies can have a better chance at life in “a region where the maternal mortality rate is 440 per 100,000 live births and the infant mortality rate per 1000 live birth is 57.” Improving medical care and service for the community; equipping the Hospital with necessary medical goods, equipment and furniture; improving access to emergency obstetric care and service and reduce infant and maternal mortality in rural communities were the main objectives and it seems that already inroads are being made to achieve these.

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