Improving midwifery services
Although Bangladesh has achieved laudable success in reducing maternal mortality, we are still far from the MDG target. According to an estimate, every year over 5,000 women die due to pregnancy related complications in Bangladesh. One of the most effective antidotes to these avoidable deaths is improving the existing midwifery services in the country. This suggestion came at the roundtable, organised by Prothom Alo and UNFPA on Monday, on the role of professional midwives in providing health services to mothers and children.
In Bangladesh, only 42 percent delivery takes place in the presence of skilled birth attendants. Well-packaged maternal care provided by professional midwives can play a significant role in reducing maternal and infant mortality. The government needs to expand midwifery services and recruit adequate number of skilled birth attendants. They should be imparted quality training that will cover specialised training on ante-natal, post-natal and pregnancy related care.
Currently, only 38 percent of all the deliveries happen at institutional facilities such as hospitals. We need to strengthen these institutions to ensure quality mother and child care at the local level. The community clinic with its wide-reach in rural areas can be a trusted partner in this effort. It needs to be equipped with proper labour rooms, smooth supply of electricity and water facilities and adequate number of midwives.