We Can Build Hope for Women in Bangladesh

What began as a single rented room is now a 40-bed hospital serving a rural area just outside Cox’s Bazar, a district home to 2 million people.
But the need is great, and Hope wants to do more. We want to help.

Help Build the Hope Maternity and Fistula Center

In 1999, Dr. Iftikher Mahmood used his own funds to rent a one-room outpatient clinic and hire a doctor to provide free care to the destitute living in his home community of Cox’s Bazar. Today, it has grown to a 40-bed charitable hospital with eight rural medical outposts, a training center for midwives, and a strong network of local staff and volunteers across southern Bangladesh.

Fistula Foundation has been proud to partner with Hope Hospital since 2010, and donations from our generous supporters have helped more than 200 women receive free fistula repair surgeries at Hope. This is the only facility in southern Bangladesh providing routine fistula treatment, and the only facility in all of Bangladesh with a FIGO-certified fistula surgeon on staff.

Word has spread throughout the region about the free medical care provided at Hope, and this busy hospital knows it must expand if it is to continue providing the same access to care that the rural poor have come to rely on. Ground has broken for the new Hope Maternity and Fistula Center, a 75-bed facility that will transform maternal health care in this region. Fistula Foundation has committed to help build and support the fistula ward of this new hospital. Once open, the six-floor facility will offer free surgery to all women in need, with 15 beds dedicated at all times to fistula patients. There will be two operating theaters, two delivery rooms, and a 24-hour emergency room, as well as space for surgeons, nurses, and midwives to receive critical training on fistula treatment and other types of patient care.

Another great feature? The new hospital will be built adjacent to the current facility, not replacing but expanding the space Hope has available to treat patients. The new hospital will nearly triple the total number of beds available at Hope for destitute people who need care.



Dr. Iftikher Mahmood, FAAP

Dr. Iftikher Mahmood. Photo by Tareq Salahuddin.Dr. Iftikher Mahmood was born in Cox’s Bazar, a small seaside port town in Bangladesh. In the nearby town of Chittagong, he completed his high school and college education and graduated from Chittagong Medical College, University of Chittagong, in 1987. After a short period of training at a local mother and children’s hospital in Bangladesh, Dr. Mahmood moved to the U.S. for higher education. Subsequently he completed specialized training in Pediatric Residency from Brooklyn Hospital, New York, and fellowship training in the subspecialty of Pediatric Endocrinology at New York Hospital – Cornell University Medical College.

Dr. Mahmood felt that there was tremendous and unnecessary suffering being endured by the poor and sick mothers and children in Bangladesh. He always dreamed of building a charitable hospital to help them. While visiting Bangladesh in 1999 he decided to establish a charitable hospital in his home town of Cox’s Bazar to provide medical care to the most neglected people in the community.

Dr. Mahmood established Hope Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh in 1999 in the U.S. as a charitable organization whose mission is to provide health care to poor and needy mothers and children in Bangladesh.

In January 2000, the outpatient clinic of Cox’s Bazar Hospital for Women and Children was opened in a rented room with one doctor providing medical care to the poor people of the area. The outpatient clinic ran successfully for five years; during that time, more than 60,000 patient visits were made.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mahmood began a fundraising campaign among friends, colleagues, and the expatriate Bangladeshi community in America to raise money to build a fully functioning hospital that could provide more services to the poor.

During 2004, a series of fundraising events helped raise money to build a 40-bed hospital in a rural area just outside Cox’s Bazar. Construction began in 2004 and the hospital was inaugurated in April 2005. This hospital provides much-needed services to the community at nominal expense—free to those who cannot afford to pay. A total of eight additional satellite clinics have been established in nearby rural villages to better serve those who cannot afford to travel to the hospital for varying reasons, and to refer patients with more complicated and severe cases to the hospital where they can receive the appropriate treatment they need. Hope Foundation now boasts several specialized care projects and aims to provide even more in the near future.

Hope hospital was built with a vision of emerging as a major health care center for the area’s needy. Hope is serving more than 25,000 patients a year and aims to continue growing to reach as many destitute people as possible.

Dr. Mahmood lives in Miami, Florida, with his wife and three children.



Fistula Ward Blueprint

When complete, the Hope Maternity and Fistula Center will be a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facility. Upon completion, the new hospital will:

Fistula Floor - imageNearly triple the number of patient beds available. There will be space for 75 beds in this six-floor facility, with 15 beds dedicated to fistula patients at all times, with potential to double this allocation as capacity grows to add more fistula services.

Provide space to hire and train more full-time fistula surgeons. With more operating room space available, the new Hope Maternity and Fistula Center plans to provide more training opportunities to surgeons in Bangladesh, expanding the pool of surgeons qualified to perform complex fistula repairs. In their new facility, Hope also has ambitions to become a regional fistula training site certified by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), opening its doors to enable more training opportunities for surgeons throughout southeast Asia.



Delivering Much-Needed Care to Women in Bangladesh

 


Learn more about Hope Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh through our interview with its founder, Dr. Iftikher Mahmood.



The Evolution of Hope



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