With the mission of "Ensuring and Innovating Access to Public Health across Bangladesh," Footsteps Bangladesh launched "Shushasther Odhikar Shobar" (SOS) in 2020.
SOS, translating to "better health is a right for all", is a health programme that was initially executed to address the health crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The programme has now evolved to having five different components of various health initiatives, impacting over 4,701 people to date in last-mile communities, reads a press release.
Professor Rubin Harvey from Penn State University, founder of Energize the Chain, delegated the Energize the Chain Bangladesh franchise to Footsteps to strengthen the cold vaccine chain infrastructure in Bangladesh.
SOS works on designing and implementing unique and needs-based health initiatives for the general population, principally focusing on women and child health.
It works on innovation, both on strategic and technical grounds, making healthcare facilities easily accessible in hard-to-reach areas by ensuring that services are appropriately channeled to the targeted beneficiaries and address each segment of public health that is lagged.
One of SOS's component is SOS Medical Box and Women Capacity building on First-Aid which has ensured primary health security for 916 households in Kushtia and Rangamati and trained 24 women.
SOS also promotes Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights through workshops and consultation with SOS Bijoya, an eco-friendly reusable sanitary pad for menstrual hygiene management. So far, this component has ensured awareness and knowledge-building workshops along with hygiene kit supplies for 100 adolescent girls in the recent flash flood-affected area to ensure they have safe and dignified menstruation.
With Energize the Chain Bangladesh franchise, two cell tower-powered and one solar-powered vaccine and medical supplies' storage will be deployed in Satkhira this month. This is estimated to strengthen the healthcare supply chain and support over 1000 people every month.
Other than these, Footsteps has conducted several small campaigns in hill tracts and provided emergency support under SOS, such as distributing 140 Oxygen cylinders and 2,500 masks across districts during a pandemic and over 1,100 packages of basic medicinal help to the flooded areas.
Together, all of the abovementioned parts are intended to support the SOS hub, which is an important milestone for the programme. This will be implemented in collaboration with local government and based on the idea that everyone should be able to access improved health care.
SOS aspires to consolidate all services under one roof. It is hoped to build a long-term relationship between Footsteps Bangladesh and beneficiaries through it and make a way to disburse further health support according to need.
Under the leadership of Shah Rafayat Chowdhury and Mohammad Taqi Yasir, co-founders of Footsteps, the programme is monitored and implemented by a specialised team coordinated by its Project Coordinator, Mehenaz Zaman.
The team also comprises of a dedicated group of field officers, changemakers with a medical background, and public health professionals who are spontaneously adding value to the impact of the overall programme.
Footsteps Bangladesh, a next-generation development organisation that empowers communities to tackle community-specific problems through effective self-sustaining initiatives, currently has six main social ventures impacting over 315,247 people across 30 districts in Bangladesh.
The team has been recognised nationally and internationally with the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2022 (Social Impact category), Diana Award (2020), AFS Prize for Young Global Citizens (2020), and Joy Bangla Youth Award (2020).