Unilever Bangladesh Limited (UBL), the country’s leading Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company, in collaboration with Friendship, a not-for-profit social purpose organisation, constructed a residential hospital boat with amenities for medical procedures to serve remote char communities in 2001.
The LFH is fully equipped with a primary health care unit. It also has secondary health care facilities, two operation theatres, a pathological laboratory, and a digitalised X-ray room. The LFH team consists of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who offer a wide range of services including gynaecology dentistry, ophthalmology, paediatrics, and general medicine. In addition to providing treatment, LFH also dispenses free medicine to patients and offers.
In the last 20 years, LFH has delivered 1,066,671 healthcare services to 657,182 patients. In addition to regular outpatient service delivery, LFH has organised 416 different specialised health camps conducted by national and international medical teams for the marginalised riverine communities where 16,385 successful life-changing surgeries were done. To date, LFH has provided healthcare services to over 1.5 million people living in the chars.
This visit showcased the LFH operation and programme interventions in the remote chars of Bangladesh. The delegations learned about the journey of this iconic initiative, interacted with the team who has been carrying the benevolent work in the last two decades and heard about the first-hand experience of the patients and beneficiaries. The trip also included visits to Friendship’s projects focusing on social business, governance, education and women empowerment.
His Excellency Mr. Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, said, “Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital (LFH) has become a symbol of hope for enabling healthcare across underserved communities in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has grown into a stronger economy while facing many challenges in the healthcare system. For the last 20 years, Unilever’s initiative with Friendship has set an excellent example in transforming communities by meeting their healthcare needs.”
‘’It is always a pleasure seeing British Multinational Companies not only build the economy through business, but embed into the culture and heritage of a country and build the nation through the right social initiatives I hope initiatives such as LFH will bring more life-changing impacts for the underprivileged.” - Mr. Robert said.
Zaved Akhtar, CEO and Managing Director, Unilever Bangladesh, said, “Our goal at Unilever is to make sustainable living commonplace, and one of our major ways we do it is by improving people’s health, confidence, and wellbeing. Our purpose-driven brands like Lifebuoy has been working to advance the nation's healthcare system and citizens' health and cleanliness. Although access to high-quality healthcare services is a fundamental human right, Bangladesh's distant regions continue to face difficulties in this area.”
“With this realization, we partnered with the Friendship 20 years ago to establish Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital (LFH), which offers medical treatment to underprivileged individuals living in off-the-grid communities. I admire the diligence and commitment with which medical personnels from Bangladesh and globally have improved the lives of more than 657,000 patients over the past 20 years. Unilever committed to making healthcare accessible and affordable for those who need it the most.”- Zaved Akhtar said.