Healthy mothers can give healthy

nation Ensure maternal health and welfare

A mother’s role in the formation of a child’s character can hardly be stressed enough. Mothers work tirelessly to ensure health, safety and welfare of their children. Jatiya Sangsad (JS) Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said on Sunday that healthy mothers lead to a healthy nation.

A nation cannot call itself developed or progressive without ensuring all the rights and welfare of mothers. In this connection it can be said that this government has undertaken different important initiatives for the welfare of mothers including providing maternity allowance, allowance for lactating mothers, six-month maternity leave for service holder mothers, inclusion of mother’s name alongside that of father’s in passport and ensuring different facilities for working mothers.

All of this has greatly improved the quality of life for mothers across the nation. However, significant challenges still remain in ensuring maternal health. According to a report by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) half of all maternal deaths are due to conditions that are preventable with skilled care, such as hemorrhage. Only 41% of the need for maternal health care professionals is met. Extremely young mothers in particular are vulnerable to maternal complications such as obstetric fistula.

First and foremost, the government must take all necessary steps to eliminate early marriage and therefore put a stop to subsequent early pregnancy. Multiple studies have shown that both maternal and new born health is put at risk due to early pregnancy. The authorities must also work to establish maternity health clinics in rural areas as well as small towns. Subsidizing maternal healthcare is also needed, even in urban areas as many are unable to afford basic maternal healthcare.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment must hold all organizations accountable when it comes to allowing maternity leave and allowance. The existing laws will not do much good unless they are strictly enforced. Overall, there have been gradual improvements in maternal health and social welfare, but we still have to go a long way to ensure the best possible environment for mothers.