Canadian High Commissioner visits Compassionate Korail Centre in Bangladesh

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.

Photo: Handover of cheque from Canadian High Commission staff to support the work of the project in Korail

On March 27, 2019, the Compassionate Korail Children’s Palliative Care Team hosted a group of delegates from the Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh. The group, which included His Excellency Benoit Prefontaine (Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh), visited the Compassionate Korail Center, to learn about the community-based children’s palliative care program in Korail Slum. The group was able to interact with project staff and children and families who are project beneficiaries, to better understand the impacts of the programme. During the visit, the High Commissioner presented the Children’s Palliative Care Project with a donation raised by the staff of the High Commission.

Korail is the largest urban slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Compassionate Korail is a community-based palliative care project which is a collaboration between the Centre for Palliative Care (at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University), the World Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), the Children’s Palliative Care Initiative in Bangladesh (CPCIB), and the Korail community.

Support for 28 families

In the Children’s Palliative Care Project, there are 28 families who are provided with medications, medical treatment and community support to improve the quality of life. The children who are supported by this project, have serious or life-limiting conditions, such as cerebral palsy, genetic conditions and congenital heart disease.

At the Compassionate Korail Centre, the High Commissioner and his team were able to observe some of the supports which are provided to the children, including physiotherapy, speech therapy, and developmental stimulation activities. Working with the project are 3 dedicated palliative care assistants (PCAs), who are specially trained community health workers. These PCAs visit each of the children at home on a regular basis, to provide therapy and support and ensure that each family receives the support they need. The children also come to the Compassionate Korail Centre for specific treatments and supports, including speech therapy and to play in the play room, which is staffed by trained volunteers and PCAs.

Community support for the project

The team from the Canadian High Commission was able to interact with paediatric patients and their families, community volunteers, and local community leaders during their visit, to understand the broad support for this project among the local community. A key local community leader shared about how the entire Korail community recognizes the tremendous value of the project and how the community supports this project, through small donations made at donation boxes distributed to local shops. Additionally, the community has supported the project by donating the land where the Compassionate Korail Centre was built, which has allowed the project to expand its impact with a permanent building for training staff and volunteers and providing medical and social services.

The High Commissioner and his team were very impressed to see the dedication of the team members, volunteers, local community leaders, and the ongoing project activities. The High Commission commented, “I am amazed by how much you are doing for the people of Korail slum, your work is very inspiring, and I hope that Canadian High Commission will find ways to be your partner”.