LAMB : A Brief History (1955 – 2019)
Mid 1950s – Vision
The vision for LAMB began when Mr. John Otteson, a missionary of the American Santal Mission in Dinajpur, felt an urgent need for medical work for the hundreds of thousands who had no access to proper health care. The vision was developed further through a prayer group in Los Angeles.
1969-Mid 1970s – Land
The land where LAMB exists was purchased between 1969 and 1972.
The early vision included a hospital providing high quality tertiary, secondary and primary health services to everyone, especially the poor. Preventive health initiatives were introduced before the hospital was established. From the earliest days, training was envisaged as a key activity.
1976 – LAMB Registered
LAMB officially began with our registration with the Ministry of Social Welfare. The first programs were a small clinic at the LAMB site and mobile clinics in several villages. The Community Health division expanded to include sanitation programs, health teaching and literacy, and other preventive health and community development programs.
1983 – Hospital Opened
The 50-bed hospital opened in October 1983.
1980-1995 – Community Activity Growth
The LAMB Community health and development program (CHDP) expanded working areas with health promotion, disease prevention, mobile clinics; functional literacy education; income generation and training programs.
The Tuberculosis program began in the late 1980’s.
The relationship with PLAN International began in 1994. It initially involved the sub-contracting of health services to LAMB for mobile clinics and health teaching.
A disability rehabilitation and nutrition facility was opened in 1994, with a community disability program also initiated.
1996-7 – Board governance revised
In 1996-7 LAMB restructured governance from that of a traditional mission with parent agency oversight (World Mission Prayer League, WMPL, USA) which had merged with founding American Santal Mission) to an NGO accountable to its own International Board. This reflected the changing external environment.
1996-97 – Community health grants and expansion
Services for the community increased dramatically in quantity and quality with receipt of the first DFID grant running from 1996-2001. The relationship with PLAN International broadened to a partnership.
During this time initial planning was started to transition from mobile clinics to fixed-site community clinics. These were first opened in 1998.
1998 – Hospital to 75 Beds
Through assistance from PLAN International, DFID and WMPL, LAMB increased the size of the hospital to 75 beds.
2005-07 – Training Centre, Fistula Care and Pediatric Wards
With financial support from the Japanese Government, a large new training centre was constructed and opened. Through support from Engender Health and USAID, LAMB Hospital added a fistula care ward. Former administrative offices were converted to a pediatric ward. Since then, the maximum capacity has been 150 beds.
After receiving training in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2005, LAMB Obs-Gynae doctors begin restorative surgery for women affected by difficult deliveries, funded by EngenderHealth/USAID.
2008-09 – Adolescent Reproductive Health; School Expands to O-Levels
The goal of this new program was to raise awareness among male and female adolescents, their parents and teachers to reduce fear about adolescent physical changes and reduce vulnerability to and impact from early marriage/child bearing and dowry. Several subsequent projects have continued the focus on this strategic age group, and engaging parents, school teachers, and other local decision-makers and influencers to bring about the significant social changes necessary to ensure girls and women in particular are increasingly valued, educated, and healthy.
The LAMB English-Medium School was expanded up to Class 10. So the first students were preparing for their ‘O’ level exams.
2009 – Microfinance Transition
A LAMB strategic review noted microfinance support was being provided by a number of qualified NGOs. LAMB’s program, with 6,000 members, was then handed over to a local NGO.
2010-12 – Research Projects
A three-year research project studying Prolonged Labor/ Birth Asphyxia ended in December 2010. Pilot projects laid ground work for a project to improve feeding practices in children less than two years of age, organized by Alive and Thrive, as well as a 5 year nutrition supplementation comparative research program through University of California, Davis.
2010-19 Disaster Resilience
With a goal to help people withstand upcoming natural disasters of flood and drought in a cost efficient way a Disaster Risk Reduction program was developed through TEAR Fund UK. During and after severe NW Bangladesh flooding in 2017, other partners, including UNFPA and LAMB Health UK, supported health camps with particular focus on flood-related and sexual and reproductive health needs.
2010-19 – Integrated Health and Community Development
A number of different projects have capitalized on LAMB’s extensive experience in managing local health services with household to clinic to hospital continuum of care. The projects have included functionalizing government clinics meant to provide reproductive health and pregnancy care through community facility-based skilled birth attendants. The projects have been funded through UNICEF, Plan International (with Global Affairs Canada and USAID financing), KOICA (Korean government aid through Global Care, a Christian Korean partner organization), and Women’s Hope International (Christian Swiss partner accessing funds through various sources).