We are very pleased to announce that Dr Mia Perry has been successful in winning a new project funded under the aegis of the GCRF AHRC-MRC global partnership grants. The project concerns ensuring the sustainability of a public health palliative care project in Bangladesh through community theatre. Mia is a Co-I. The PI is Dr. Shahaduz Zaman from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Glasgow. Other Co-Is are Dr Janaka Jayawickrama, York University; Dr Nezamuddin Ahmed, BSM Medical University, Bangladesh; Ms Farhana Hafiz, Head of Community Development BRAC, Bangladesh; Dr Malabika Sarker School of Public Health, BRAC University, Bangladesh; Dr. Din Mohammad, Research Director at the University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh.
Among the 160 million population of Bangladesh, it is estimated that 2.23 million people are currently living in over 9,000 slums. In the urban slums of Bangladesh, poverty makes the impact of life-limiting conditions devastating on family and community members. Communities that are already impoverished and marginalised are caring for each other without support. There are very few, if any, community palliative care projects focused on older people in urban slums around the world. It is in this context that we are developing an innovative boundary-crossing partnership to provide support to the sustainability of the urban slum palliative care in Bangladesh. We are extending existing partnerships and widening the disciplinary breadth of our existing team members by bringing together expertise from palliative medicine, public health, anthropology, community development, popular culture and art to develop a culturally appropriate and scientifically sound community engagement strategy for public health palliative care, specifically through use of popular theatre. The use of art, specifically community theatre, has become an effective approach to mobilise and activate communities by conjuring a communal sense of identity, engaging them in continuous reflective activities and aesthetic practices to address community concerns worldwide.