Govt move helps cut maternal death rate significantly


‘Since the beginning, my days were passing with various negligences in the father-in-law’s house. They discouraged me not to go to the doctors when I became pregnant,’ said Nabila (not real name), reports BSS.

A resident of the capital’s Matuail, Nabila said: ‘When my birth pain started, they (members of the father-in-law’s house) tried to make delivery with the help of a midwife putting my life at risk.’

‘Seeing no hope my husband at last admitted me to a local clinic where I gave birth to a dead baby … I returned from the jaws of death while giving birth to a child,’ said depressed Nabila. Like Nabila, many women fall into the health risk while giving birth to child at the early age, while the number of adolescent mothers is increasing due to untimely pregnancy and lack of awareness. According to a joint survey conducted by the National Institute of Population Research and Training, US-based organisation Major Evaluation and international organisation iccdr,b, the maternal death rate has decreased significantly over the last 10 years.

The maternal death rate has reduced to 170 in every one lakh in 2016 from 322 in 2001. The death rate of the newborns, children and malnutrition rate of the children below five years has also come down remarkably.

The Awami League government in 1998 took the landmark community health clinic project aimed at reaching healthcare services to the people’s doorsteps.

At that time, a decision was taken to set up a community clinic for every 6,000 rural people and initially the government planned to establish 13,500 such clinics across the country.

In three years from 1998-2001, 10,723 clinics were set up and most of them were opened in the interest of the people.

However, the BNP-Jamaat government after coming to power in 2001 shut down the clinics out of political vengeance.

After assuming office again in 2009, the Awami League government reopened the clinics and now 82 percent of rural people receive healthcare services from those clinics.

The pregnant women get urgent healthcare services during delivery and till 42 days after the delivery from the community clinics. Besides, Vitamin-A capsule is given to the new mother and her child within six weeks after the delivery.

The government is working to ensure safe motherhood and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is implementing the five-year 4th Health, Population and Nutrition Programme to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The six-month-long CSB training, voucher scheme and three-year-long midwifery course have been introduced for the health and family planning workers for development of mother and child health including emergency maternity services.

A programme will be taken and implemented for bringing down maternal death rate to 70 persons in every one lakh for attaining the SDGs by 2030.

The Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 1997 announced May 28 as the Safe Motherhood Day. Since, the day is being observed in the country by giving utmost importance to safe motherhood.

In a message on the occasion, the premier said the main goal of the day is to raise awareness among the cross section of people of the society including mother, family and health service providers about maternal health, safe delivery, and increasing quality of nutrition and medicare services and ensure their participation.

Sheikh Hasina said: ‘The biggest challenge before us to bring down maternal death rate to under 70 in every one lakh by achieving SDGs by 2030.’

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is executing the 4th Health Sector Programme (2017-2022) keeping ahead the challenge and in the light of the 7th five-year plan and Vision 2021.

Special importance has been given to it for checking maternal death and improving health of the newborns.

Giving importance to the maternal health, the government has introduced a three-year-long ‘Midwifery Course’ to ensure healthcare services for the women before, during and after their delivery as well as their children.

Besides, the ‘National Newborns Health Programme’ is being implemented for protection of the newborns.