Health Care in Bangladesh: Is MCH Still Needed?


Memorial Christian Hospital, established in 1966, was strategically built along the Trans-Asian Highway at the convergence of Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong Districts and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. At that time only a few public hospitals existed, and they were in cities. Horror stories of unsanitary conditions and inadequate facilities of those hospitals abounded. Even so, desperate people took sick family members there, while suspecting the result would be death. Seeing the needs, AOB began a medical center to offer loving, quality health care for all ages and genders, regardless of economic status or ethnic background.

Even now, public hospitals are overcrowded, understaffed, and underfunded. For every 10,000 people, only 7.7 health care professionals are available. This is significantly below the World Health Organization (WHO) target of twenty-three care-givers per 10,000. Lack of regulation and lack of accountability lead to sad results. When things go wrong, patients and their families have no one to turn to. Patients often arrive at MCH after enduring substandard treatment.

Because of these concerns, several new private hospitals have sprung up throughout Bangladesh. Almost 3,000 registered private hospitals and clinics, and more than 5,000 registered private diagnostic centers now offer care, though most Bangladeshis can’t afford the high prices of privatized medical care.

In Dhaka’s wealthy neighborhoods, billboards advertise the services of private hospitals in Delhi and Bangkok. Local brokers arrange everything from flights to doctors’ appointments. “Medical tourism” looks better all the time. However, only the few with resources can consider such a luxury.

Memorial Christian Hospital’s medical team is aware of the current needs. Care at MCH is priced for the average wage-earner. When patients and their families are unable to pay full-price for needed care, they receive treatment at reduced cost, based on their poverty level. Donors in North America give specifically for emergency relief.

Generous donors have also given significant funds to renew MCH’s facilities. The new MCH will open, Lord-willing, in the summer of 2018. It will be a 100‐bed medical center to meet the ever-growing community. An expanded Outpatient Department will be able to handle more than 400 patient visits per day. The 10‐bed Intensive Care Unit will provide critical care for more than 10 million people in southeastern Bangladesh. And to care for those with resources who otherwise are burdened with traveling abroad, 20 private cabins will be available.

Memorial Christian Hospital continues to offer loving, quality health care and anticipates being able to do that all the more in the years ahead.

MCH Men's WardIncubator Babies