Childbirth amidst COVID-19 pandemic

SNV doli website

This story showcases how SNV’s Health Insurance Plus programme turned a boon for a ready-made garment (RMG) worker in Bangladesh.

Over the past couple of months, access to basic and critical healthcare in Bangladesh - from buying vitamins to finding a bed in an intensive care unit (ICU) facility, has been a real challenge amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19.

Doli Khatun is a 23-year-old swing operator from Interstoff Apparels Ltd. in Gazipur and a beneficiary of  SNV’s Health Insurance Plus program.

On 19 April, Doli and her husband Asif went for a routine prenatal visit. Unfortunately during the visit, as the ultrasound showed the size of the baby larger than expected, the doctor advised for immediate Cesarean delivery (C-section). The unexpected delivery date and the COVID-19 restrictions worried the couple about financial and health support.

As the country was in lockdown and the factories closed, getting a referral slip from the factory's doctor – a pre-requisite for availing the financial benefit under the Health Insurance Plus model, was not possible. Despite this, without further delay, Asif started the formalities to admit his wife to the hospital and contacted the factory's HR manager to liaise with the hospital management.

"__Thanks to SNV our RMG workers are receiving healthcare without difficulties even in a crisis like this. 
We would like SNV to continue this health insurance model for workers' wellbeing.__" 
- Mr. Pradip Kumar Nath, Group Compliance Head, Interstoff Ltd.

On 21 April, Doli was admitted to the referred partner hospital - Tanha Health Care Hospital, and gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby girl. Doli remained in the hospital for 3 days and the financial coverage of the Health Insurance Plus programme reduced the financial burden on her family.

"Who would expect to become a father in the middle of a pandemic!
Being enrolled in the health insurance scheme made it possible for us to face this situation with courage and strengths.
We are sincerely grateful."
- Asif, Doli's husband.

The Health Insurance Plus programme, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Carrefour Foundation, is implemented by SNV in Bangladesh in 13 factories and so far enrolled more than 13,000 workers. Under the programme, each garment worker receives an annual health coverage of BDT 15,000 for an annual premium of only BDT 575. This scheme is based on a cost-sharing adoption model where, over a 4-year period, the annual premium contribution from the donor gets reduced every year while both factory and worker contribution increases.

With the COVID-19 outbreak and its financial burden on factories and workers, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has agreed to consider the same financial support for the current year as in the previous year.

Written by: Farhtheeba Khan and Sourav Sarker