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.


Theresa May survives UK parliament vote of no confidence in her government

Updated 52 sec ago
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Theresa May survives UK parliament vote of no confidence in her government

  • Had the government lost, Britain would have faced an election within weeks
  • The House of Commons expressed confidence in the government by 325 votes to 306

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May's government has survived a no-confidence vote called after May's Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers.
The House of Commons expressed confidence in the government by 325 votes to 306, meaning May can remain in office.
Had the government lost, Britain would have faced an election within weeks while preparing to leave the European Union on March 29.
Despite the reprieve, May faces a monumental struggle to find a way out of her country's Brexit impasse. She has until Monday to come up with a new blueprint for Britain's EU exit after the deal she reached with the EU went down to a crushing defeat in Parliament on Tuesday.