Bangladesh suffers during COVID-19 pandemic but sees sparks of hope

By April 28, 2020

Bangladesh (MNN) – While officially reported cases of COVID-19 remain low in Bangladesh, the pandemic is creating new struggles for many Bangladeshis.

On April 7, the total reported cases of COVID-19 in Bangladesh rose to 160 confirmed cases. Cases have continued to rise to the now 5,913 reported cases and 152 deaths. However, local partners say these numbers are underreported.

Limited COVID-19 Testing

One pastor reaches his community with essential supplies. (Photo courtesy of FMI)

Bruce Allen from FMI explains that there are very few testing sites in Bangladesh ready to test for cases of COVID-19. He says, “The members of our leadership team… are saying that the actual number of infection is most likely significantly higher.”

Limited testing and crowded cities make Bangladesh particularly vulnerable to diseases like COVID-19.

Allen says, “Bangladesh is one of the most crowded places on earth. When we’re talking about social distancing, that’s a phenomenon that most of Bangladesh cannon even relate to. They’d say, “How can I escape being in close contact with somebody else?”

Masks for Hospitals during COVID-19 Pandemic

Bangladeshi woman making face masks in COVID-19 Pandemic

Bangladeshi woman making face masks. (Photo courtesy of FMI)

Yet there are still sparks of hope for Bangladesh. One paster, Rajib, and his church are fighting the pandemic by gathering essential supplies for those in need.

Allen explains that Rajib’s church wanted to show their community sacrificial love. Despite not having many resources to share in rural Bangladesh, they dedicated themselves to serving their community.

“They were able to acquire things like soap and sanitizers and disinfectants and make-up gift packs for the different homes in their communities,” Allen says. 

Rajib includes illustrated instructions in these gift packs to show to use these supplies. Allen explains that about 30% of the population in Bangladesh is illiterate, so illustrated instructions are included to help those in rural areas who are part of that percentage.

Handing out gift packs gives Rajib and his church a chance to talk to people. “They can also be caring for spiritual needs at the same time [as physical needs] and praying with people,” Allen says.

The women in the church, led by Rajib’s wife, Shathi, began making hand-sewn face masks for nearby hospitals. Like many countries around the world, rural Bangladesh is struggling with a massive shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers and hospital staff.

Allen says, “They’re able to produce about a little more than 100 a day and get them delivered to the doctors.”

How to Help

Help FMI by praying for Bangladesh today. Ask the Lord to provide resources and medical care to Bangladeshis during this time.

Allen says, “We want to be praying for the people of Bangladesh, for perseverance even in lockdown situations.”

You can also click here to donate to FMI’s COVID-19 relief fund to help send essential supplies to Bangladesh and other countries in need. Click here to find other ways to get involved and connect with FMI’s work in Bangladesh.

 

 

Header photo courtesy of FMI.