Started in 2000, the Shelter is a 20-bed facility for cancer-affected families or patient attendants traveling from rural areas into the city for the child’s treatment. Modeled after the world-renowned Ronald McDonald House Charities, the ASHIC Shelter is only half a kilometer away from the Banga Bandhu Medical University Hospital in Dhaka, where almost all of the cancer patients arrive on a first referral.
In Bangladesh, most of these patients live in far-flung villages, with little money for treatment let alone for traveling back and forth multiple times. Since all the cancer-related treatment facilities are based in the city of Dhaka, when these families suddenly move to Dhaka for the treatment of their beloved child, they face a host of different problems. One of these major problems is accommodation and transportation. Accommodations near the hospitals are quite impossible for the parents, especially for the length of time that treatment of such nature requires. As there is no provision for parents’ accommodation in or around the hospital complex, it creates severe difficulties; often to the extent that the parents decide to forego the required follow-up treatments and take their children back to their home villages. This further lowers the survival rates, which are already challenged in face of inadequate treatment facilities.
Hence, the inception of the ASHIC Shelter. The facility is free for patients and attending parents, while any additional family member can stay at a nominal cost of Tk. 40/day (approximately 50 cents/ day). To minimize misuse of the facility, ASHIC only accepts families who come on recommendation from hospital authorities.
Over the years, many additional services have been introduced. Families can cook, store their food and also have access to a play area for all children at the facility, patients and siblings alike. We also often offer evening refreshments to resident patients at no extra charge. In addition to these physical comforts, being at the Shelter has improved the rate of survival rates as a higher percentage of families remain for their follow-up treatments, and it has also helped families with better information sharing amongst themselves and be an unprecedented support system for each other.
You can support this program for a cost of $50/ bed/ month