Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK) is a non-government development organization (NGO) working for poverty reduction of the target poor Bangladeshi population in selected hard to reach remote areas of Bangladesh. In mid-eighties under the banner of “Niramoy Free Friday Clinic” a group of likeminded professionals, doctors, social activists, and volunteers begun to facilitate Primary Health Care (PHC) activities at Tejgaon slums in Dhaka. This was the informal beginning of DSK. In 1988 a devastating flood engulf two thirds of Bangladesh including its capital Dhaka, in this situation the DSK was formally started with a Medical Team to provide immediate relief and health care to flood effected people in Dhaka city. The main aim of setting up the organization was to continue and consolidate above mentioned efforts and engage to facilitate and develop a health delivery approach targeting the marginalized that would be self-sustainable in the long run. In 1989, DSK was registered with Department of Social Service (Dha-02273)and in 1991 with NGO Affair’s Bureau (No 577) in Bangladesh. Depending on the geographic locations DSK’s activities have been generally classified as urban and rural development. In the bygone period the urban program was based in Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna cities, and the rural development programme based in Barguna, Bagerhat, Gazipur, Jessore, Khulna, Kishoreganj, Narshingdi, Netrakona, Narayanganj, Sunamganj, andSatkhira districts. Slum dwellers and low income communities are target project participants from urban and rural areas. DSK targets to cover hard to reach areas and extreme poor households. In this connection, DSK is active in Haor region, Coastal belt and urban slums which are recognized as extreme poverty pockets in Bangladesh.
DSK has been implementing its programme and projects targeting poor and extreme poor population living in urban and rural areas to reduce their poverty. In urban slums it has been implementing development interventions like- health care, micro credit, water and sanitation, non-formal education, economic empowerment of extreme poor. In coastal districts and haor areas it has provided emergency relief, rehabilitation and livelihood restoration, awareness building and facilitated increase in capacity to face disaster risks and community empowerment. In rural areas DSK also has been providing support through health care, micro credit, non-formal education, water and sanitation, women empowerment etc. In DSK’s development initiatives, “Advocacy” is a cross-cutting theme in all its development initiatives. The government and the target communities especially poor are sensitized about their roles and responsibilities. Communities are becoming aware about their rights and entitlements. DSK has played a strong advocacy role to adopt “National Sanitation Campaign” as GoB’s development priority and also influence change DWASAs and CWASA’s existing policy and accommodate slum dwellers as legitimate clients of WASAs. This initiative has created significant positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of poor and extreme poor households living in urban slums. Empowerment and participation of communities’ especially poor women are the deepest focus of DSK’s development initiatives. DSK has been facilitating to establish strong poor people’s organizations that would finally take responsibility for development projects and programs and advocacy to establish their entitlements and facilitate poor people’s access to services in a sustainable manner.