TEDxDhaka 2017 Rendering Tomorrow: Session 3 “The Demography”

The Demography

Hussein Elius

“Who here likes traffic?” Asked Hussein Elias rhetorically to kick off his talk on the traffic situation of Dhaka, one he is deeply involved with being the co-founder of the largest time-sharing transport company in Bangladesh. He set forth presenting the research and statistics he collected through his venture and tried to portray a more coherent picture of the chaotic mess that is Dhaka traffic. He graphically demonstrated the patterns of trips of the inhabitants of Dhaka and  shared a moving story of a bike rider at Pathao. Having lost his job and with the burden of supporting a family, he joined Pathao as a last resort. Within a month, he was earning over 40,000 taka, and his daughter didn’t have to drop out of school.

Elius concluded by explaining how he set out to solve a problem for himself and then ended up not only solving the same problem for others, but also gave opportunity for many more to make a living through this solution.

Irinel Cocos

There are various misconceptions surrounding human trafficking. Irinel Cocos starts by talking about such misconceptions which include the amalgamation of human and sex trafficking, the lack of awareness of the extent of labour trafficking and the ignorance to the fact that the majority of victims of human trafficking are men. She emphasised the importance of prosecuting the assailants and broke down the consequences of failing to do so.

Irinel then outlined the challenges faced while trying to bring the culprits to justice which includes problems varying from lack of law enforcement coordination across borders, the lack of awareness within communities and the social situation plaguing the subcontinent that discourages the victims from pursuing retribution. All of the following factors resulted in astonishing results in attaining justice against the perpetrators. Only in 2017, out of 363 reported cases of trafficking, only 1 person was convicted. The number surprised everyone, but she clarified that protection from human trafficking and justice for it are closely and inseparably intertwined. Each and every one of us are accountable to the problem if we don’t speak up. Human trafficking isn’t just across international borders and only with women and children, it happens within Bangladesh and with men too.  She asserted that trafficking is everywhere, and it is vital that we recognise the cases, speak up and fight for justice. Irinel concluded by leaving the audience with a point to ponder, “You cannot deny someone’s tomorrow when you’re sitting there and contemplating yours.”


Rubayat Khan

Rubayat Khan, the founder of Jeeon, was the third speaker of this session. He started by painting a clear picture of the situation of healthcare in rural Bangladesh. There is an enmity against the primary point of care for the dwellers of these rural villages, the village medics, who are often the only means to get emergency medical relief for the villagers.

He discussed what he saw as an opportunity to improve the healthcare issues in village—telemedicine. Rubayat explained how using the village medics, who are often the pharmacy owners in the village, as the legs for the doctors who often cannot reach the patients themselves. Combining the training of the doctors with the practical experience and personal touch of the medics, a more cohesive solution for the healthcare situation in the villages. He detested the constant scapegoating and delegitimization of the medics and pointed out the hypocrisy of the medical community in not being willing to live in the villages to reach the villagers but blaming the “quacks” for providing a service the medical community should be providing but isn’t. He also shed a light on the medicine industry in Bangladesh, one filled with counterfeit drugs and the “doctor prescribed” increased demand. Rubayat concluded by breaking the various myths that surround these medics and asserted the importance of their services and the need to incorporate them into the medical system through training.

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