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Working on the ground to fight COVID-19 in Bangladesh


At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi NGO BRAC was busy working on the frontlines to respond. Through 35,000 community health workers, it distributed masks and shared life-saving health-education messages about how to prevent COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccination.

Mahmuda Zannat is among thousands of BRAC health workers who conducted regular household visits to support families in Rajshahi, a rural region in northwestern Bangladesh that has been hit hard by COVID-19.

“Whenever I go to a household, I try to assure them that it is safe to inform me if anyone in the household is sick,” she explains. “My pre-existing relationship with these households has enabled me to build trust. People know I am here to help, not to get them in any trouble.”

With Canada’s $1.5 million seed funding, BRAC is now working to reach 81 million people across 35 districts in Bangladesh. Through the Community Fort for Resisting COVID-19 (CFRC) project, Canada’s support is helping to build resilience at the community level, addressing 4 main pillars to tackle the pandemic: fighting misinformation, promoting mask-wearing, responding to infections and promoting vaccination efforts.

Canada helped to encourage additional like-minded donor countries to contribute to the CFRC fund. These contributions have allowed BRAC’s community health workers to conduct more than 1 million door-to-door visits to screen potentially infected individuals and help them to connect to free telemedicine services, in addition to various other resilience-building activities.

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