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Doctoring the Village Doctors: Giving Attention Where it is Due

Future Health Systems

This book tells the story of a package of public health interventions aimed at improving the quality of care of informal village doctors. The intervention took place in Chakaria, a rural area in rural Bangladesh, where village doctors are a major group of informal healthcare providers practising and dispensing modern medicines. Quite often, the drugs they dispense are inappropriate or even harmful.

Previous work from ICDDR,B established village doctors as an important player Bangladesh’s healthcare system, as they are often the first port of call for the rural poor. Considering this importance and the huge shortfall of formally trained health workforce in the country, there is a clear need to improve the quality of the services offered by these semi-trained village doctors.

In response, a team of ICDDR,B researchers tested a package of interventions, which included training of the village doctors, establishing a community watch for improved accountability and establishing branded franchise of better trained village doctors.

This book chronicles the background to and design of the interventions, examines its outcomes, and outlines how lessons learnt have informed new approaches to improving the services of village doctors.