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PM for reducing maternal and infant mortality

  • Published at 08:43 am June 19th, 2013
PM for reducing maternal and infant mortality

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday emphasised bringing down the maternal and infant mortality rate to the desired level through the participation and coordinated efforts of the government and private entrepreneurs.

She expressed her firm belief that Bangladesh would certainly achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including reducing maternal mortality to 134 per 100,000 births, and reducing child mortality to 20 per 1000 births by 2015.

The prime minister was addressing a prize distribution ceremony, marking Safe Motherhood Day 2013, at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city.

She requested all, especially husbands, mothers-in-law, relatives and neighbours to take extra care of pregnant mothers in order to produce healthy babies.

Mentioning her government's introduction of Skilled Birth-Attendant Training Programmes, Hasina said under the programme, field level female health workers are being trained on midwifery.

"So far, 7,627 persons have been trained under birth-attendant programme," she said, adding that a programme is underway to create another 3,000 midwives by 2015.

Apart from government efforts, the prime minister said various non-government organisations including Unicef, UNFPA and WHO are jointly implementing different programmes on mother and child health.

She asked the relevant authorities to take initiatives to train elderly women, including grandmothers, about the safe birth of babies so that they could help pregnant mothers in their own families and their neighbours.

Hasina said her government had been working tirelessly to create awareness about maternal health, safe delivery and nutrition in all spheres of society.

The present government, she said, has increased maternity leave to six months to enable a mother to breastfeed and give extra care to her newborn child for a longer time.

She said the government also introduced the “Maternal Health Voucher Scheme” to help the poor get healthcare service during pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery period.

The prime minister said out of consideration for the role that mothers play in building a healthy nation, her government during its previous tenure announced May 28 as Safe Motherhood Day.

She said various indices relating to infant and maternal health have improved significantly following the effective measures implemented by the present government.

Reduction of the birth rate, spread of female education, women empowerment, expansion of emergency mother care, development of communications and living standards have played a vital role in this regard, she added.

Hasina said on June 16, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) recognized Bangladesh for achieving MDG-1 by reducing the number of extreme poor earlier than the 2015 deadline.

She said Bangladesh received the MDG-4 and South-South awards for its remarkable contribution to reducing the child mortality rate and providing healthcare services using information technology.

The country was also given awards for Global Alliance of Vaccination and Immunisation in 2009 and 2012 for its outstanding success in the regular immunisation programme for children, she added.

The prime minister highlighted various steps by her government to ensure healthcare services reached the doorsteps of rural women.

She mentioned the introduction of primary healthcare services in over 12,250 community clinics and the recruitment of manpower including physicians, nurses and community healthcare providers.

She said now the women can directly take the healthcare services from those clinics without depending on other members of her family.

Mentioning the introduction of emergency maternal care facilities in the country, Hasina said women were getting the services from all medical college hospitals, 59 district hospitals, 132 upazila health complexes and 68 mother and child care centers.

She said the ICT based service system had been introduced in all government hospitals from national to upazila levels while internet and laptops have been provided to 3,500 community clinics.

The prime minister said the government is also trying to procure helicopters for the emergency moving of mothers with complications during child delivery from remote areas.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr AFM Ruhal Haq, Advisor to the Prime Minister Prof Syed Modasser Ali, State Minister for Health Capt (rtd) Mujibur Rahman Fakir, DG Health Khandalkar Mohd Sefayet Ullah and DG Family Planning AKM Amir Hossain also spoke at the function. Health Secretary M N Niaz Uddin presided.

Earlier, the prime minister distributed prizes among the recipients for their excellence in imparting comprehensive emergency obstetric care. A total of 49 persons from seven divisions received prizes this year.