Many of the expectant mothers are seen opting for institutional delivery as results of various motivational and advocacy campaigns being conducted for safe motherhood in rural areas.
Time-fitting programmes, including mothers gathering, use of loudspeaker, home visit and leaflets and poster distribution, are being conducted in the rural areas to improve maternal, neonatal and child health.
The present government has given utmost emphasis on institutional delivery side by side with ensuring antenatal care (ANC), postnatal care (PNC) and neonatal care to achieve the SDG-3 through bringing down maternal and newborn death to the stipulated figures by 2030.
Divisional Director of Health Dr Habibul Ahsan Talukder said government and non-government organizations concerned are working relentlessly to supplement the government endeavor.
As part of their collaborative efforts, many of the community and union level health facilities were reactivated through appointing Family Welfare Visitor (FWV) on priority basis so that the grassroots people, particularly the marginalized and low-income sections, can derive total benefits of those.
Around 10 mothers' gatherings were arranged only in Sapahar upazila in Naogaon district recently with participation of more than 261 people comprising pregnant mothers, guardians, local public representatives, community volunteers, civil society members and FWV.
Upazila Chairman Shahjahan Hossain said that the Public Health Improvement Initiative Rajshahi (PHIIR) project is convening the mothers' gatherings over phone calls continuously interacting among the pregnant mothers along with their guardians about making birth plans safe and successful.
Various issues related to ANC, PNC and neonatal services, birth preparedness plan, normal vaginal delivery (NVD) services, danger signs during pregnancy and after delivery services were discussed in the meeting elaborately.
DASCOH Foundation has been implementing the PHIIR project supported by Swiss Red Cross (SRC) at five upazila health complexes, 42 Union Health and Family Welfare Centres and 110 Community Clinics under Bagmara, Charghat and Tanore upazilas in Rajshahi and Porsha and Sapahar in Naogaon districts.
The project is intended to improve the health status with special focus on maternal, neonatal and child health at primary health care level.
Upazila Chairman Shahjahan Hossain said there are five Union level Health Facilities in the upazila and they are doing NVD for the last couple of years benefiting the village-level pregnant mothers enormously.
He said the FWVs are also seen visiting the houses of pregnant mothers for getting ANC, PNC and Neonatal checkup and referring the risky mothers to the better facilities.
Sumaiya Khatun, 20, gave birth to her first baby through cesarean section in the health complex. After moving one clinic to another due to some complexity, the family members rushed her to the UHC for safe delivery.
"We are happy after getting the emergency services at the facility," said Khatun, wife of Selim Raza of Hapania Krishnasada village, adding that they had no financial capability to afford the costs of district level better facilities.
Quoting the latest official data Upazila Health and Family Welfare Officer Dr Ruhul Amin said they delivered 20,915 ANC, 3,577 PNC, 99,397 child health, 32,254 family planning and 5,11,979 general health services during the period from October 2019 to July 2022.
Besides, they conducted 1,447 NVD successfully at the upazila and union level facilities making the service-recipients delighted besides referring 24 other cases to better facilities.
He himself and his colleagues are very much proud of the successful cesarean operation despite the existing limitations. Various need-based steps were adopted to make the facility patients-friendly.
The labor room was equipped with all requisite devices and apparatus, including mini freeze, postpartum hemorrhage eclampsia and its protocol and total quality management, with assistance from the PHIIR project.
PHIIR Project Manager Tozammel Haque told BSS that the present government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is determined to run the rural health facility effectively. "So, we are working here to make the government's efforts successful," he added.