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Caring For Communities in Bangladesh

Over 20,000 people in Bangladesh have been given access to free medical support as part of a joint venture between the Cotton On Group and the Assenting Action for Changing of Livelihoods (AACHOL) Trust.

The establishment of the Bangladesh Mobile Health Clinic initiative is just one small step being made by the Group, in a region where it is acknowledged there is much more work to be done.

Complete with all the facilities of a small hospital, the clinic is providing garment factory workers, schools students and vulnerable communities in the region, access to treatment and advice at no cost.

Serviced by a team of specialist doctors and nurses, patients are receiving primary care for identified illnesses, advice on health management and medical support in cases of critical need. Uptake of the service is increasing month to month, with over a thousand patients treated in September alone.

Project Leader and Group Production Manager for the Cotton On Group, Paul Murdoch, says the initiative aims to help break the cycle of poverty by addressing the barriers faced by people in the region.

"The underlying premise of the clinic is that every child, youth and adult - regardless of their situation - deserves access to compassionate medical care," he says.

"As a global business operating in Bangladesh, we see it as our responsibility to make a positive contribution to the local communities in which we operate and this program is giving us the opportunity to do just that."

With many households in Bangladesh facing issues of overcrowding, inadequate nutrition, low levels of education and unsafe environments, the program provides essential primary treatment of diseases such as tuberculosis, malnutrition, measles and malaria.

In addition, the clinic is also educating patients on ways to improve their chances of good health and minimise their susceptibility to illness.

"Where the current focus in Bangladesh is on post-disease treatment, the program is working to equip individuals and communities with information on simple things like safe water usage, hygiene and regular physical exercise", Mr Murdoch says.

With the need for basic medical attention and support so great, the mobile health clinic will continue helping the communities in Bangladesh that need it most.

In line with its ethos to have a positive impact on the communities in which it operates, the Cotton On Group will also seek to find new ways to support Bangladesh and its factory partners in the region. With suppliers viewed as a true extension of the Group team, this next phase will be fundamental in fostering supplier relationships and ensuring the ethical supply of products.

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