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Frequently Asked Questions

The Clinic

What is the total area and population served by the clinic?

Although SAMC is located in Chondipur (an average population of about 8000 people), we serve patients from several surrounding villages as well. Therefore, we serve an average of about 145,000 people spanning an area of 50 square miles. Keep in mind that Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, housing a population that is half that of the United States in an area that is half the size of the state of Oregon.

How many patients are served per week?

On average, Suraiya Ataur Medical Clinic (SAMC) serves 200 patients per week (average of 40-50 patients per day).

What are the most common medical issues patients come with?

SAMC sees a variety of health concerns, including but not limited to: pregnancy related issues, respiratory problems, abdominal/digestive issues, skin issues, acute fever, and issues related to high blood pressure.

How many staff do you have?

We are proud to have an all-female staff at SAMC. We have one female doctor and one female medical assistant. Additionally, we have two female administrative staff who help with patient intake and documentation, keeping the clinic clean, and other administrative duties.

Walk in or appointments?

SAMC operates on a walk-in basis. We do not take appointments.

Does the clinic charge clients?

Our patients are charged a nominal fee of 5 BDT, which is equivalent to less than 5 cents in USD. This charge covers their visit to the doctor in its entirety, including any medicine prescribed by the doctor.

Where do patients go who need more specialized treatment than the clinic offers?

They will have to travel to the nearest hospital over 10 miles away. These ten miles may not seem long, but the journey is. There is only one main road connecting the village to the nearest hospital, and patients often have to spend extra money on public transportation (which are expensive and scarce in the remote areas). Patients also have to spend a minimum of twice the fees SAMC charges to see a doctor, and spend extra on any prescribed medication which would be included in their visit fee at our clinic.

What is the role of education at the clinic?

SAMC started offering services in the spare rooms of the adjacent school, and we value the role education can play in the overall empowerment of young women and children. With this fundamental value, we offer nursing school scholarships to women and pride ourselves on offering basic healthcare education during every visit.

Our Covid Response

What safety measures have been put in place to protect patients and staff from COVID- 19?

Since we are in healthcare, patient and staff safety is of utmost importance. Every patient is required to wash their hands outside of the clinic before entering, have their temperature taken with a thermal scanner, and are given surgical masks before they are allowed inside. If their temperature exceeds 100 degrees, they are not allowed to come in. The lobby is not in use at the moment – rather, patients have to wait outside the clinic while social distancing before they are called in when it is their turn. Similarly, every member of our staff also has to follow the same guidelines as patients – however, they change their masks more frequently, wash their hands and change gloves between each patient.

What is the general COVID situation in the village of Chondipur and surrounding area?

Since there is a general lack of accurate reporting of confirmed COVID-19 cases across Bangladesh, it is difficult to know the exact numbers in the area where SAMC operates. However, currently in all of Bangladesh there are almost 400,000 confirmed cases with over 5,000 deaths. It is important to keep in mind that these numbers are only according to the reported cases, so the actual number is likely even higher. Because of this, we are taking extra precautions at our clinic in Chondipur to protect our community.

Where do people go for treatment when the clinic is closed?

Our clinic is open 4 days a week. However, if a patient has an emergency or needs to be seen immediately, patients will have to travel over 10 miles to reach the nearest hospital. These ten miles may not seem long, but the journey is. There is only one main road connecting the village to the nearest hospital, and patients often have to spend extra money on public transportation (which are expensive and scarce in the remote areas). Patients also have to spend a minimum of twice the fees SAMC charges to see a doctor, and spend extra on any prescribed medication which would be included in their visit fee at our clinic. Besides the extra costs, patients usually have to set aside an entire day to be able to visit the nearest clinic if SAMC is closed due to long wait times and the scarcity of public transportation in that area.

Are any tests available in the village? At the clinic?

The Bangladeshi government has strict rules in place regarding COVID- 19 testing – they are only distributed to a handful of listed hospitals who are the only ones legally authorized to test patients for the coronavirus. Due to this, there are no COVID-19 tests available at our clinic.

The nearest clinic where a test can be completed is about 10 miles away, which costs 300 BDT (or $3.50). This is very expensive for the average villager, and for reference costs 60x more than what a visit to SAMC would cost.

There is also an option to have the test taken at home, but this requires a fee that is also out of reach for almost every villager - 500 BDT, which is about $6, and 100x the cost of a visit at SAMC.

Nursing School

What is the nursing school scholarship?

One of SAMC’s core values is women empowerment through education. To combine the idea of healthcare and education, we decided to offer a scholarship to one young woman from Chondipur or a surrounding village that covers all 4 years of her tuition at any nursing school of her choice. We believe in bridging the gap between the power disparity that exists between men and women in Bangladesh and supporting women in breaking the glass ceiling – and it all starts with education!

How many nursing students are being supported by scholarships at present?

We began offering scholarships for a young woman to attend nursing school in 2019, so it is a fairly new project. At present, we were able to offer one scholarship during 2019. Due to the effects of COVID-19, we were not able to offer a scholarship in 2020. However, with your generous and continued donations we hope to revive our scholarship program and offer at least two scholarships to women to pursue their dreams of becoming a nurse in 2021.

How are women selected for the nursing school scholarship?

2019 was the pilot year for our scholarship program for the nursing student. Last year, we mainly used word of mouth to spread news about this offer for a potential scholarship. Women were required to submit personal statements on the following: why they want to go to nursing school, their career goals after graduating, and how they think education could make a difference in their lives. Afterwards, we narrowed the list to 3 women and interviewed them and their families, to make sure that they had the right support system to be able to see their dream through to the end. We ended up choosing Tina for our pilot year, and you can hear her speak on our “Nursing School” project page!

Donations

Does all of my donation go directly to the clinic?

100% of your donations go directly to the women and children of Chondipur. There are no middlemen or hidden fees since our entire team in Seattle is comprised of volunteers. Your donations are making a difference by allowing women and children to have easier access to healthcare and education, as well as contributing to women empowerment in a highly impactful way. Thank you for your continued support!

What is donation money used for? Does it get used for anything other than the clinic (ie: paying board members etc...)?

Our entire team outside of the staff in the clinic in Bangladesh works on a 100% voluntary basis, and are not paid any salaries. Your donation money is used for a variety of things including line items such as the salaries of our staff, medicines for the patients, and funding for the three projects SAMC has committed to: healthcare, women empowerment, and the nursing school. You can find the allocated items to find out more about where your money goes at the bottom of each project’s page!

Is it safe to donate on your site?

Absolutely. We have partnered with Stripe, a completely safe and extremely popular payment processing company that processes every transaction safely and securely. Like Square, Stripe is widely used by a number of internet companies and organizations across the country. To find out more, please visit https://stripe.com/en-gb-us.

Do you keep my credit card information on file?

No. We do not keep any of your information on file. We use Stripe to process your donations which is a safe and secure, encrypted way to pay. You can rest assured knowing we are not storing any of your sensitive information! For more information on this, please visit https://stripe.com/en-gb-us. To know more about how we protect your data, check out our Privacy Policy.

I want a tax receipt for my donation.

Of course! Every donor will receive a thank you letter which has full information to be used as a tax receipt.

General Questions

Are local people involved in this project?

SAMC prides itself on partnering with the local community to create the most impact. The idea for SAMC materialized as a result of the community of Chondipur expressing a deep desire for better accessibility to healthcare. Since Aysu, Jamal, and Kamal’s parents constructed the adjoining school for women, the community has felt a kinship to the Rahman family. Due to this, the local community was involved in SAMC from the conceptualization to the construction to the actualization of the clinic, and continue to be deeply involved in the operations and projects that SAMC commits to in the future.

Is SAMC affiliated with any other non-profits or charity organizations?

Yes! SAMC is one of the projects under the umbrella of Interfaith Community Sanctuary (ICS) in Seattle, WA. ICS is a registered 501©3 with the federal government in the United States, and is registered as a charity organization with the State of Washington.

Is there a way to donate medical equipment/supplies directly?

Yes! Please contact us at info@samcbangladesh.org to get in touch with us.

How can I volunteer?

We are honored that you would like to join our team. Please contact us at info@samcbangladesh.org to get in touch!

I'm a medical professional from a country outside Bangladesh; can I apply for a job at SAMC?

Unfortunately, at this time we are only hiring female medical professions who are from Chondipur, Bangladesh or surrounding villages in order to keep the authenticity of its community-driven environment. However, we are more than happy to welcome you to join our team as a volunteer. Please contact us at info@samcbangladesh.org to get in touch.

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