Ahoy there! The doctor will see you now...

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The Emirates Friendship Hospital, a floating medical center, in Gaibandha District, Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy: Friendship NGO)
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(Photo courtesy: Friendship NGO)
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(Photo courtesy: Friendship NGO)
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(Photo courtesy: Friendship NGO)
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(Photo courtesy: Friendship NGO)
Updated 01 October 2017
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Ahoy there! The doctor will see you now...

DHAKA: For six months, two-year-old Akhimoni waited for the surgery she desperately needed for her burn injuries.
Her father, Abul Kalam, and mother, Nazma Begum, could not afford a hospital in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, and had almost given up hope.
Then Nazma heard about the Emirates Friendship Hospital, a floating medical center in the Gaibandha District, and set off with her daughter on the four-hour journey there.
“Here, Akhimoni got her surgery free of cost yesterday,” she said. “Not only that, we are also getting all the medicines for free.”
The family are not the only ones from the char areas, the wetlands of Bangladesh, to benefit from the floating hospital. The islands they live on are often far from the mainland, and difficult to reach. The people of the chars are mostly deprived of proper education and health care.
The hospital was launched in 2008 by Friendship, a non-governmental organization, in collaboration with the Dubai-based Emirates airline. The aim is to provide health care for the remote char communities, which Friendship describes as among the “most vulnerable and marginalized people in the world.”
Emirates Friendship is the organization’s second floating hospital. The first, the Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital, was launched in 2001 in a converted French river barge, with sponsorship from Unilever Bangladesh. There are now three, providing free treatment including primary health care and mother-and-child care.
Each one is fully equipped and staffed with a professionally qualified MBBS doctor, a group of nurses, and medical assistants. More than 30 staff serve in each ship around the clock, seven days a week. The villagers can visit from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Each hospital has up to eight beds for critical patients. Friendship also operates 400 satellite clinics to provide primary health care to people in the chars.
“We believe in maximum level of care for the patient so that they are cured. Otherwise there is no meaning in visiting our hospital,” said Runa Khan, the founder and executive director of Friendship.
“With these three Friendship floating hospitals and 400 satellite clinics, we have treated around 4.2 million poor people over the last 13 years.
“We will introduce another 250 satellite clinics next year. In addition, we will launch five more floating hospitals named King Abdullah Friendship Hospital, a donation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which are now under construction in a shipyard near Dhaka.”
Friendship also plans to launch a 50-bed hospital at Shyamnagar Thana for the people of the coastal area, who are struggling every day with the effects of climate change.


Trump drops new North Korea sanctions because he ‘likes’ Kim

In this file photo taken on February 27, 2019 US President Donald Trump (L) speaks with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi. (AFP)
Updated 23 March 2019
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Trump drops new North Korea sanctions because he ‘likes’ Kim

  • “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” the president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Friday abruptly announced the cancelation of sanctions imposed by his own Treasury Department to tighten international pressure on North Korea.
“It was announced today by the US Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!” Trump said in a tweet.
He appeared to be referring to measures unveiled Thursday that targeted two Chinese companies accused of helping North Korea to evade tight international sanctions meant to pressure Pyongyang into ending its nuclear weapons program.
But The Washington Post reported, citing Trump administration officials, that the president’s tweet referenced future sanctions that had not been announced and were scheduled for “the coming days.”
The Thursday sanctions were the first new sign of pressure since talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down in Hanoi less than a month ago.
However, Trump, who has previously spoken of “love” for the totalitarian leader, appears to retain hope that his strong personal relationship will bear fruit.
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” the president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said.
Adam Schiff, a Democrat who heads the intelligence committee in the House of Representatives, blasted Trump for canceling sanctions “imposed only yesterday and championed by his own national security adviser, because he ‘loves’ Kim.”
“Foolish naivete is dangerous enough. Gross incompetence and disarray in the White House make it even worse,” Schiff tweeted.
On Thursday, Trump national security adviser John Bolton had tweeted that the sanctions were meant to put an end to “illicit shipping practices” by North Korea.
“Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea’s sanctions evasion,” he said.
China complained, saying that it did enforce all UN resolutions and opposed “any country imposing unilateral sanctions and taking long-arm jurisdiction against any Chinese entity according to their own domestic laws.”
This was Trump’s second major, unexpected foreign policy announcement by Twitter in two days.
On Thursday, he sent a tweet reversing decades of US policy and pledged to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the hotly contested Golan Heights border area with Syria.