Caring for Local Population in Bangladesh

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Local/National Customs, Beliefs, and Religion

 A Bangladeshi man hanging fish to dry in the sun in Sunderbans
Figure 1. A Bangladeshi man hanging fish to dry in the sun in Sunderbans (Countries and Their Cultures, n.d.)

As part of the Doctors without Borders initiative, our multidisciplinary volunteer group is planning to assist healthcare providers in Dhaka. As per Figure 1, the most common occupations in Bangladesh are agriculture and fishing, which has implications for culture and healthcare provision. As a religious nation, Bangladeshi people have wedding rituals involving fish, such as tattva. Due to the unstable food safety situation, intoxication is possible even after consuming ritual food, and nurses should be able to manage such cases without disrespect for patients’ beliefs.

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The Sitara (star) mosque in Dacca
Figure 2. The Sitara (star) mosque in Dacca (Countries and Their Cultures, n.d.)

Bangladeshi people are deeply religious, with the symbols of Islam, such as stars, permeating people’s daily activities and thinking about life (Figure 2). The lack of respect for symbols that are sacred for patients might become an issue. Specifically, star tattoos can be considered offensive and should be covered with clothes.

A young Bengali woman performs a traditional Manipuri dance
Figure 3. A young Bengali woman performs a traditional Manipuri dance (Countries and Their Cultures, n.d.)

Expressive hand gestures play an important role in multiple traditional activities, including female-only Manipuri dancing (Figure 3). In daily life, expressing respect and trust by touching the left part of the chest or one’s interlocutor’s hands in same-sex conversations is also common (Countries and Their Cultures, n.d.). In case of language barriers, these gestures should not be mistaken for chest pain complaints or any mental conditions.

Muslims pray on Friday prayers at Baitul Mukarram Mosque
Figure 4. Muslims pray on Friday prayers at Baitul Mukarram Mosque (Hossain, 2021b)

Figure 4 illustrates the ubiquitous tradition of praying on Fridays. The call to prayer at the holy places is crucial to people’s mental well-being and must be respected by nurses (Countries and Their Cultures, n.d.). When patients wish to pray, healthcare practitioners can offer some space for it if doing so does not cause harm to health.

Family members offer prayers for their deceased relatives
Figure 5. Family members offer prayers for their deceased relatives (Kar, 2021)

Family traditions, including praying together, are essential for local communities (Figure 5). For stable patients with non-communicable diseases, it might be crucial to be able to hold small family meetings during hospitalization.

Healthcare Clinic Patient Care

Bangladesh – unrest – religion – Internet
Figure 6. Bangladesh – unrest – religion – Internet (STR/AFP, 2019)

Conflicts with the police and between religious groups are common in Bangladesh. Figure 6 illustrates the consequences of the protest over the alleged defamation of the Prophet Mohammed. Nurses should be prepared to provide the best possible trauma care in a timely manner.

Dengue patients hospitalized in Bangladesh
Figure 7. Dengue patients hospitalized in Bangladesh (Ramany, 2021)

Infectious disease management and prevention is another required competency area (Figure 7). Aside from other care measures, mosquito nets are widely used to prevent new bites and create safer environments for dengue patients. Studying information about dengue is critical prior to the trip.

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A patient is being brought to the Dhaka Medical College
Figure 8. A patient is being brought to the Dhaka Medical College (Hossain, 2021a)

Working with COVID-19 patients will be a substantial part of the team’s experiences in Bangladesh (Figure 8). Excellent PPE use, first aid, and breathing aid device use skills are central to success. Due to resource scarcity, prompt decision-making and needs assessments are necessary to identify patients that require immediate medical attention.

Local Healthcare Providers and Collaboration

Dutch nurse instructs local nurses, Munshiganj, Bangladesh
Figure 9. Dutch nurse instructs local nurses, Munshiganj, Bangladesh (Godong Universal Images Group, 2011)

Teaching by foreign nurses is not uncommon, so all volunteers must be prepared to deliver treatment-related information in plain English (Figure 9; Wells, 2021). The right gestures should be used to supplement the explanations. The thumbs-up gesture will be considered disrespectful, so it must be eliminated.

Dengue emergency in Bangladesh
Figure 10. Dengue emergency in Bangladesh (Sumon, 2019)

Dressing according to local norms is important for nurses (Figure 10). Around 50% of Bangladeshi nurses and lay healthcare workers identify as Muslims (Akter et al., 2019). This results in the willingness to cover more body areas than the standard uniform requires.

References

Akter, N., Akter, M. K., & Turale, S. (2019). Barriers to quality of work life among Bangladeshi nurses: A qualitative study. International Nursing Review, 66(3), 396-403. doi:10.1111/inr.12540

Countries and Their Cultures. (n.d.). Bangladesh.

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Godong Universal Images Group. (2011). Dutch nurse instructs local nurses, Munshiganj, Bangladesh [Photograph]. Getty Images.

Hossain, S. (2021a). A patient is being brought to the Dhaka Medical College [Photograph]. Getty Images.

Hossain, S. (2021b). Muslims pray on Friday prayers at Baitul Mukarram Mosque [Photograph]. Getty Images.

Kar, N. (2021). Family members offer prayers for their deceased relatives [Photograph]. Getty Images.

Ramany, S. (2021). Dengue patients hospitalized in Bangladesh [Photograph]. Getty Images.

STR/AFP. (2019). Bangladesh – unrest – religion – Internet [Photograph]. Getty Images.

Sumon, K. A. R. (2019). Dengue emergency in Bangladesh [Photograph]. Getty Images.

Wells, L. (2021). Nursing in Bangladesh. Journal of Christian Nursing, 38(4), 207. doi:10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000876

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NursingBird. (2022, September 23). Caring for Local Population in Bangladesh. Retrieved from https://nursingbird.com/caring-for-local-population-in-bangladesh/

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NursingBird. (2022, September 23). Caring for Local Population in Bangladesh. https://nursingbird.com/caring-for-local-population-in-bangladesh/

Work Cited

"Caring for Local Population in Bangladesh." NursingBird, 23 Sept. 2022, nursingbird.com/caring-for-local-population-in-bangladesh/.

References

NursingBird. (2022) 'Caring for Local Population in Bangladesh'. 23 September.

References

NursingBird. 2022. "Caring for Local Population in Bangladesh." September 23, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/caring-for-local-population-in-bangladesh/.

1. NursingBird. "Caring for Local Population in Bangladesh." September 23, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/caring-for-local-population-in-bangladesh/.


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NursingBird. "Caring for Local Population in Bangladesh." September 23, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/caring-for-local-population-in-bangladesh/.