Bidyanondo Foundation, a voluntary organisation, and Bangladesh Coastguard are jointly going to launch a floating hospital Jibon Kheya to provide poor people living along rivers with healthcare services.

Officials at the foundation said ‘Jibon Kheya’ is being prepared as their workers are refurbishing a tourist boat now anchored in the Rupsha River in Khulna, said a press release.

After launching a 100-bed COVID hospital in just 14 days ago in Chattogram’s Patenga jointly with the Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP), ‘Jibon Kheya’ would be another milestone for Bidyanondo Foundation, which always resorts to creative ideas in serving humanity.

Salman Khan, a Bidyanondo volunteer, said on Wednesday that they hope to prepare ‘Jibon Kheya’ in a week as workers and volunteers with the guidance of the coastguard are working hard to transform a 21-cabin tourist boat into the hospital. The boat is now anchored at jailkhana ghat in Khulna.

He said the coastguard is preparing the primary route plan to provide services to the poor people living along rivers and the agency would ensure security of the boat. “Apart from physicians and nurses, at least eight support staff will be there onboard to ensure medical services.”

In a statement, Chairman of the Bidyanondo Foundation Kishore Kumar Das said they took the decision of launching the floating hospital to ensure healthcare services to the coastal people who have no other choices but to live with natural disasters such as floods and cyclones.

“People are suffering for prolonged monsoon floods and recent cyclones. Such natural disasters leave a trail of destruction, killing people, taking away people’s livelihoods and destroying their crops and everything. Many become climate refugees. Moreover, diseases overshadow their efforts to get back to normal life,” he said.

Kishore said they just want to ease the sufferings of such people to some extent by launching this floating hospital. “We always tried to establish some examples in serving the people who need help during tough time. The government is doing its part, others have also come forward, but we always want to come forward in a more meaningful and creative way. We’re trying to fill in the gap. Jibon Kheya is just another such effort.”

He sought help from people to run the hospital.