The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Letter to Nick Clegg re MDG Summit #blogladesh
Categories: blogging mums

Hello Nick

We are well aware of your MDG meeting soon.  It was part of the motivation for our trip to Bangladesh and we’ve had massive support from the British Mummy blogging community in England which has followed our trip in minute detail.  Now it’s time for us to call on you and ask you to support the children and families that we have met in Bangladesh and all the other countries which are featured in the MDG programme.

As I flew home from our trip to Bangladesh with Save the Children, some of the images I had captured sprang to mind – I think they say a lot about the state of the country in comparison to ours so I’m inviting you to look, comment and respond to me, Mummytips and Porridgebrain.

The purpose of our trip to Bangladesh was to highlight the plight of children and report back through our blogs and twitter feeds on what we have seen.  We are also very keen to ensure that when you head to New York for the September MDG meeting that you have a clear idea of what’s going on.  I’m not sure if you’ve ever visited Bangladesh or any other developing countries, apart from Russia, as part of your remit. It’s been an extraordinary experience which I don’t want to go to waste.

Our time in Bangladesh has been well spent.  We’ve seen the way things can work out really well when organisations like Save the Children commit time and energy into them, but we’ve also see how things are muddling along to disastrous effect.  The results are not just under par, they’re appalling.

I photographed this hospital bed a few days ago.  Would you tolerate these hospital conditions?  The debate about this bed focused on the filth and whether the stains were iodine or blood or in fact both… That’s not something I’ve ever had to consider in our UK hospitals.  I’m sure you agree.  The issue here is that there is no choice.

This photo was taken in a government hospital in Barisal where funds don’t stretch to providing fresh sheets.  Medicine and trained staff are in short supply too.  This needs to be fixed by further support from internal and external sources.

Hygiene is obviously a big issue when it comes to disease which is why I was so shocked to see this outside bathroom.  I’ve seen this in other countries and it’s not a question of looking down on another lifestyle, it’s about basic cleanliness.  Do you see a sink or a wash basin anywhere?  Neither do I.

It’s obviously very basic and the dug out bowl seeps into the water surrounding it.  Which in turn is used for washing clothes which you can see in the photo below.

And the water is also used for washing dishes which are used for food.  This leads to contamination regularly and as most of the country is at sea level a small rise in the water means flooding can be catastrophic.

So it’s not any wonder that many of the children we visited in this village were suffering from diarrhoea and pneumonia which is often fatal in Bangladesh.

The whole set up is incredibly fragile and we have seen it at first hand and there is a disheartening lack of basic human rights and dignity for children.  Every child should have access to nutrition, education and hygienic conditions and it’s very easy to sit back here in the UK and pay lip service to this ideal.

Basic hygiene measures would cut the level of disease immensely but there’s no money to do that which is why the part you play at the MDG Summit on September 22 in New York is so important.  Bangladesh gets very little mention in the United Nations Millennium Report 2010 and it still needs to have a place at the table – the goals that have been set need to be met, if not exceeded.

Please ensure that these children’s needs are heard and your voice is loud.

Yours sincerely

Eva Keogan

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9 Comments to “Letter to Nick Clegg re MDG Summit #blogladesh”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nixdminx eva keogan, Celia Clark and LivingwithKids, Hannah Reichardt. Hannah Reichardt said: RT @nixdminx: New post: Letter to Nick Clegg re MDG Summit #blogladesh #pressforchange #nudgenick please RT [...]

  2. Kerry says:

    Wow this is a great letter, that really drives the point home. You all are amazing for going and have done such a fantastic thing. Amazing that’s all I wanted to say xxx

  3. Sharmin says:

    Hi Eva, This is an amazing and a very powerful letter! I just want to mention one more thing regarding the patient’s attendants in Govt hospitals of Bangladesh. Most of these attendants do not effort to stay in the hotels, that is why we may find even 2/3 attendants are staying with the patient, inside the Govt.hospitals! Most of the people in rural Bangladesh try everything they can to cure a patient with the available health facilities in their own community. Sometimes, it even includes traditional healers who utter ‘Mantra’( magical scripts or verses) and blow on a bowl of water, or on a black thread to hang around peoples neck etc. So , people usually come to the hospitals(specially the Govt ones, as they cost them almost nothing) when all those health facilities of their own areas fail. It costs them money and time of travel. Also, attendants are kind of encouraged to accompany with the patients here in the Govt hospitals because we have a huge scarcity of doctors, nurses and other staffs.

    I hope you are all well and had a safe journey back home! Thank you so much for visiting Bangladesh and speak for us! Take care.

    • admin says:

      Hello Sharmin – thanks for putting the additional comments in and thanks for being such a great translator, without you these stories would remain untold. I am sure as a visitor to Bangladesh without Save the Children acting as our guides, we would never have been welcomed into so many places and what we have seen has been a rare opportunity to tell these tales and raise awareness. Thanks, we’re all back safe and sound and sharing our stories here. Keep up your great work, much love xx

  4. BMB were very happy to support you Eva. I felt like we were there with you. Glad you are home safely and look forward to reading/seeing more.

    • admin says:

      thanks very much, I’m really keen to see we get the 100,000 on the petition now so we can leverage our pool of influence on Mr Clegg

  5. Letter to Nick Clegg re MDG Summit #blogladesh | Nixdminx…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

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