Bangladesh made impressive progress in reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health

News Hour:

Bangladesh has made impressive progress in reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health in the last two decades. However, 42% of deliveries are attended by skilled birth attendants and 38% deliveries occurring at facilities, though the quality of care is often reported as compromised.

In accordance to this, a national sensitization meeting on midwifery-led care services was held on 31st October 2017 in order to establish midwifery-led care at Upazilla Health Complexes as well as to strengthen the primary clinical education practice sites for midwives.

The national sensitization meeting was held under the project of “Strengthening the National Midwifery Programme (SNMP) with technical support from Save the Children and funded by UNFPA.

The Additional Secretary for Nursing and Midwife, MoH&FW, Suvash Chandra Sarker, was present in the occasion as the Chief Guest of the ceremony and he reiterated the government’s commitment to the improvement of the health and welfare of mothers and children. He highlighted the urgent need to revisit the advances that Bangladesh had made so far and act immediately to end this race with great success.

Lastly, he thanked the development partners for supporting the government to improve the lives of the mothers and children of Bangladesh.

Dr. ABM Muzharul Islam, Director IPHN & Line Director NNS-DGHS, Dr. Md. Sharif, Director MCH & Line Director MCRAH-DGFP, Dr. Md. Jahangir Alam Sarker, Line Director MNC&AH-DGHS were all present as Special Guests in the national meeting.

Speakers at the National Sensitization Meeting on Midwifery Led Care Services

The national meeting was attended by other key stakeholders such as several officials and members from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Development Partners, national and international NGOs, professional bodies, academics and members of the print and electronic media. The Government of Bangladesh recognizes the important role midwives play to provide highest quality care for the mother before, during and after pregnancy.

The discussion followed a comprehensive way forward to introduce quality midwife-led care and initial stabilization of emergencies at targeted Upazila Health Complexes prior to referral across the country. The discussion also highlighted the importance of strengthening evidence-based routine obstetric and newborn care practices at Medical Colleges and District Hospitals that currently function as primary clinical education sites for midwives.

Tandra Sikder, Director General, Nursing, and Midwifery was the Chair of the meeting stated that Midwives are the key players given their high capacity to reduce the current maternal and newborn mortality ratio/rate in the country by working in an enabling environment and providing quality care.

Dr. Shamim Jahan, Health Nutrition HIV/AIDS Director, Save the Children Bangladesh reflected the role of Save the Children in strengthening the Midwifery Led reproductive health services to assist the government to achieve 98% facility delivery and provide quality care at government health facilities by 2030.

Representatives from the Directorate General Health Services, UNFPA, Bangladesh Midwifery Association engaged in the discussion as well. The meeting reached an audience of around 100 participants representing the MOH&FW, DGFP, DGHS, UN agencies, other development partners, INGOs, professional bodies, and members of the print and electronic media.

The national meeting successfully received acknowledgment and commitment from the Minister of Health and Family Planning in establishing Midwifery led reproductive care at government health complexes, creating an enabling environment for student midwives and overall, acknowledged the need to strengthen the quality of services by ensuring close monitoring and supervision of services.

Tareq Salahuddin

Dr. Tareq Salahuddin is an award-winning journalist and a Special Correspondent of News Hour. He is a Public Health Professional working in the development sector. Dr. Tareq, a medical graduate, is a member of Public Health Association of Bangladesh and a former member of the Governing Council and Policy Committee of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), a J2J Fellow on HIV/AIDS and a member of the International AIDS Society. To know more about Dr. Tareq, please visit his personal website (www.tareqsalahuddin.net) or simply Google his name.
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