The Story of Babul Miah

My name is Babul Miah and I am 25 years old. I live in Mirpur-10, Dhaka. I earn my living by working as a day laborer in the construction sector, a job that demands strenuous physical labor for meager pay. Nonetheless, I happily work for my family of three; me, my wife, and my 2-year-old son. Every morning, I wake up before dawn and set off for the construction site of a residential building.

Living in the heart of the city has its perks, but it also has taken a toll on my health. The constant exposure to dust, pollution, and noise at the construction site has started affecting my respiratory system. Coughs and sneezes have become a regular occurrence, making it difficult for me to work efficiently. Moreover, The extreme heat this year has challenged my health severely. I cannot afford to visit a doctor because if I go to the government hospital then I have to wait hours in line which will make me unable to work that day. But how can I take a day off! How will I ensure food for my son if I am not working? So, I buy cough medicine from my local pharmacy to try to control the cough and respiratory distress.

I can ignore my health but what made me feel most helpless is when my son, Rifat got sick this July. We live in a slum in unlivable conditions and clogged water is very common here. Upon seeing my son trembling in high fever, I started fearing the worst which turned out to be the truth; he was diagnosed with dengue fever and we had to admit him to the hospital. Panic and fear gripped me and my wife as we watched their son's health deteriorate rapidly. The hospitals were overcrowded with other dengue patients, and the medical costs were overwhelming for a laborer like me. Despite my insufficient income, I had to borrow money from friends and relatives to afford the required medical care. I juggled between work and staying by Rifat's bedside at the hospital. Fatigue gnawed at me, but I pushed my limits to be there for my son. The sleepless nights and mounting financial burden weighed heavily on my shoulders.

Days turned into weeks, and I watched Riaz's condition improve, albeit slowly. My determination and love for my son kept me going during the most challenging times. As Rifat gradually recovered, my gratitude knew no bounds. The experience taught me the harsh realities of urban life and its impact on health. I am now more aware of the importance of protecting myself and my family from such health hazards. I want to learn cost-effective ways to keep my son and wife healthy as they mean the world to me.

I help build luxurious apartments, but my son has to grow up in a slum with unbearable living conditions. I wish there was any way for us poor people to live in a decent place where our house will not be flooded after every rain or our children will not have to suffer from diseases that can be avoided.