Upon completion of my three years tenure with Praava Health, I am grateful to my patients and colleagues for their good wishes. I’m proud to be working with talented and committed co-workers in the Praava team who are dedicated to restoring trust in the healthcare sector of Bangladesh.
I can still fondly recall the day Prof. Dr. Raghib Manzoor introduced me as a senior family physician, acting in the Bangladesh army, with the senior management of Praava Health at its first office at Gulshan. I was very excited after getting to know the aim of the organization and its future planning in the healthcare delivery of our country. During our conversation, I came to know that Praava’s target population will be the urban middle class, as they are the biggest sufferers in the existing healthcare system in our country, where the low-income population can get healthcare support from the government or NGO health centers and the affluent are flying abroad to get medical help. Even Praava’s name, a combination of two words “Praan” and “Aava” meaning “beam of life” is beautiful and meaningful! And so from the very first day, I decided to work with Praava.
In early 2017, I attended many workshops and training sessions at Praava on updated healthcare delivery systems, patient dealing and counseling, and learning of modern technology which will be required in overall patient’s management. One day I met Praava’s Founder, Chairman, & CEO, Ms. Sylvana Q Sinha, an American by birth and Bangladeshi by blood, who took the challenge to establish this world-class healthcare delivery center to make a change in our health system. She has degrees from Harvard University, Columbia University, and Wellesley College and spent most of her career working in international law and development, including with the World Bank and an advisor to the then Senator Barack Obama. She moved to Dhaka for fulfilling this mission with a dream that Praava Health will be a network of family health centers based on family doctors and diagnostics and will act as a trusted partner with patients in their health journey and build a brand that will be based on quality and excellence.
Praava Health started its journey on August 24, 2017. I can still recollect our launch day, when I demonstrated a family doctor’s consultation, the way we do it at Praava, to the chief guest of the occasion, honorable State Minister of ICT Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak. He was very pleased to see the patient-centric set up of our consultation room and the show of empathy exhibited during a consultation. All clinicians working at Praava are maintaining that patient-centric consultation style, giving patients sufficient time, listening attentively, and allowing the patients to take part in the decision making of diagnosis and treatment.
I joined Praava Health formally on September 9, 2017, as a consultant in family medicine and became a proud member of the team. There are other specialties such as pediatricians, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, dental surgeons, psychologists, nutritionists, and physiotherapists. We all became very committed to Praava’s motto and formed a reliable, trusted, and strong first contact healthcare delivery place to keep patients out of hospitals. As we know, 80-90% of all health related issues can be solved by family doctors.
With the tagline “we care for you like family”, Praava Health ensures utmost care for patients at every step of their healthcare journey. After stepping into our facility, patients can feel that every process is designed to get the solutions they need quickly. Praava wants to enable patients to have access to healthcare anytime anywhere and so introduced the first fully-integrated Hospital Information System (HIS) including the first patient app to access their medical records, book appointments, and communicate with family doctors and other health professionals.
Praava’s state of the art lab was set up according to international standards including Bangladesh’s first molecular cancer diagnostics lab and is currently going through the process of accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the leading international organization advancing excellence in laboratory medicine. Along with this, Praava has imaging services as well with the latest equipment, and an in-house pharmacy. At the very beginning of the COVID pandemic in our country, Praava’s lab was one of the first to get government permission to perform the COVID-19 test. Praava is also offering many affordable health plans, home care services and reliable home sample collections.
In our country, many public and private organizations started working to meet this deficiency in our healthcare sector. But until now, no organization has started full-fledged services to provide proper family health services by combining family doctors and other allied health professionals. Praava Health is a pioneer in this regard with the aim to establish a world-class healthcare system that puts patients first. The whole concept is the brainchild of our Founder, Ms. Sinha, who gave up her life in the USA and moved to Bangladesh to provide better healthcare delivery in our country, with a belief that Bangladeshis deserve quality and affordable healthcare grounded in respect and empathy.
In the present COVID-19 pandemic situation, the role of family doctors is manifold. They can easily maintain the triage at the front line by disease screening, providing telemedicine consultations, educating the community people, assisting the public health authorities, and can ultimately prevent unnecessary burden on hospitals in our resource constraint country. During this health crisis, Praava is providing access to quality healthcare through video consultation with family doctors and the other health professionals, along with testing for COVID-19, home sample collection, and pharmacy delivery all over Dhaka.
Family medicine was my chosen specialty from the time I first seriously considered medicine as a career before I even knew that it was a specialty. With that interest, I became the first fellow (FCPS) and member (MCPS) in Family Medicine of Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons. I believe this area of medicine is where a doctor can benefit the community a lot more.
As per WONCA – World Organization of Family Doctors, every family should have one Family Doctor as a health advocate and a reliable friend of the family members. Worldwide Family Doctors are trained to meet patients as the first point of contact, across all ages, genders, occupations, and cultures within the context of family and community.
I have worked in several public and private health institutions in our country and abroad throughout my civil and military career as an accomplished family physician with a dedicated focus in family medicine and on providing quality healthcare. As a family doctor, I really enjoy talking to my patients and their families and making a difference in their lives because my greatest reward is when patients tell me they like seeing me as I listen to them and I care.