GMB Akash

Crossing the Waterways in Bangladesh

  • In the early morning, Porter Johrul Islam delivers vaccine to six drop-off points. “My duty is very important. All these vaccine carriers need to be delivered properly.” Kazipur, Sirajganj.

  • Porter Abdul Hamid brings vaccines by boat to Lohabari island in time for the vaccination session. He brings vaccine to different areas every day. Lohabari, Kazipur, Sirajganj.

  • On Lohabari island, health worker Abdul Kader prepares a vaccine as mothers gather with their children. The mothers have very little education, but through outreach programs like this one, know why their children need vaccines. Kazipur, Sirajganj.

  • Mothers walk with their children and vaccination cards clutched tightly on their journey to the health centre. Areas of Bangladesh are often flooded during monsoon season. Char Doglas Island, Kazipur, Sirajganj.

  • Women of childbearing age also get vaccinated against tetanus, which can be deadly for infants. Bangladesh is still working to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus, which most countries have stopped through vaccination. Ullah Para, Sirajganj.

  • “Once it was very hard to make people understand why vaccination is important,” says health worker Nasir Uddin, “But day by day women come to us for vaccines.” New Maiz Bari Island, Kazipur, Sirajganj.

  • Fuyara Begum and her one-day old baby Sukitan. All three of her older daughters are fully vaccinated, and she says she’s happy Sukitan will have the same opportunity. New Maiz Bari Island, Kazipur, Sirajganj.

  • Fahim suffered pneumonia, a lead cause of death for young children. Bangladesh is introducing a pneumococcal vaccine that will dramatically reduce the risk. Fahim’s doctor said he would be ok. Sariakandi, Bogura.

  • Mahfuja Akter, an assistant health officer, talks to woman about maternal and newborn health. Bujmun, Durgapara, Ullapara, Sirajganj.

  • Makhmuda Khatun cradles her one day old child, in the community clinic . Kazipur, Sirajganj, Bangladesh

About The Art

GMB Akash shows how health workers go the distance to try and reach every Bangladeshi child. By boat on remote waterways and by foot through sandy pathways, Akash follows health workers as they bring vaccines to some of the most remote areas of Bangladesh. Akash spent many days in the field, lovingly capturing almost every aspect of the country’s successful vaccination program. In his photos, young mothers cross flood zones with their babies in their arms to reach the health clinic; an elderly man transports vaccines to a remote island by boat; and pregnant women receive antenatal care, including tetanus vaccine. He also captures young children ill in hospital with pneumonia, for which Bangladesh will soon introduce a vaccine.

“Every day in the morning children and mothers are coming to the clinic for vaccination. Everyone, including the poorest, know how important vaccination is.”

Bangladeshi photographer GMB Akash considers photography his language: to access, to communicate, to identify and mostly to be heard. Through his photos, he articulates the experiences of the voiceless and brings their identities to the forefront. GMB Akash has travelled intensively in 22 countries, received more than 75 international awards and his work has been featured in over 100 major international publications. Read more about GMB Akash here.

Photo Credit: S.M. Kakon

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