Sunday, March 25, 2012


Bangladesh is a vibrant, yet chaotic country. With a population of over 160 million people, it is the seventh largest population in the world - all in a country roughly the size of Iowa. It is in the top three of the highest densely populated countries, with Dhaka, the capital, coming out on top as the most densely populated city in the world. Add to this, nearly a quarter of the country is flooded each year as all the snow melt from the Himilayas flows through Bangladesh. The majority of the country is barely above sea level and is highly prone to natural disasters. 

I went to Bangladesh to work on the USAID funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceutical Services (SIAPS) Program implemented by Management Sciences for Health in over 20 countries. 

Our Bangladesh team is awesome and it was fantastic to meet them and get to know the program better. The main focus of our program here is to provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Health to improve their procurement and supply chain management systems for reproductive health commodities and TB medications, and to increase the local capacity to ensure the continuous availability of goods required to support quality health care delivery. Sound easy? 

I didn't have many opportunities to take photos as I spent most of my time in the office or hotel but I did manage to take a weekend morning and do a couple hours of site seeing. Here are a few pictures from Bangladesh!

Views from the roof of the Hotel

Public Transportation
Rickshaws, both bicycle powered and motorbike powered, are the main form of public transportation, although they are not allowed on the larger roads. Which makes it quite complicated for people to travel across the city. Supposedly there are over 400,000 rickshaws on the streets of Dhaka on a given day. The rickshaws are all blinged out in awesome colors and designs and they seem to be able to carry up to 4 people at a time!

The Port of Dhaka
The Buriganga River runs through Dhaka and is home to the main passenger port transporting over 30,000 people around the country each day. It is also the main port for Dhaka to receive its fruits and vegetables from the outside districts.  

Lalbagh Fort
The incomplete Mughal palace was started in the 17th century but never completed. It consists of a mosque, tomb, hammam, and the remnants of the fortification walls and gates. Archeological excavations have discovered that there were over 20 other structures including a water and sewage system, roof gardens and fountains. It was an interesting place to walk around, one of the few "tourist sites" in Dhaka. 

Hindu Temple
About 90% of the population in Bangladesh are Muslim, 9% Hindu, and the remaining 1% other religions (Christian, Buddhist, etc). We visited a Hindu temple in Dhaka which was very colorful and lively. A little old lady came up to me and put the mark on my forehead with the red tikka powder. I wore it for the rest of the morning, I forgot it was there!

It as a lot easier to take pictures of males...there just weren't that many women out and about and those that were out were a bit camera shy. The young boys though loved to pose very stoic like for their photo, with the big smiles breaking out when they saw their image on the screen on my camera!

SIAPS Bangldesh Team
And the reason I was in Bangladesh, the team! This is a great bunch of guys, so far there is only one woman on the team, Loren, who is absolutely lovely but unfortunately was missing for the group picture (2 more women are coming on board soon!). 

1 comment:

Marie said...

Such a colorful place.

(Sidenote - so glad the branding is correct!)