Investments in maternal and child health
Maternal and infant deaths are high in Bangladesh because of poverty and the isolation of rural communities, like Hatibandha, where women have limited access to skilled health care during their pregnancies and deliveries.
But by enabling young community health workers like Sharaha to support and educate other mothers and mothers-to-be, Hatibandha is tackling one of the most heartbreaking issues the community has faced.
“Most deliveries used to occur at home,” says Sharaha,“but now the situation is changing. Mothers are going to the local clinic for safe delivery and getting access to trained health workers.”
Shahara is a proud community health worker in Hatibandha.
Already this effort is paying off.
“Government reports show that no child death has occurred in the community in the last six months,” says Sharaha with evident pride.
That’s very much thanks to women like her who’ve been trained and are working hard to improve maternal and infant health in their community.
Shahara is equipped with the skills and knowledge she needs to help improve the health of children and women.
“I am working to reduce mortality rates through counseling and referrals to the formal health centre,” Sharaha explains, noting that most of the pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, along with adolescent girls and child caregivers, have attended community sessions led by health workers like her.
In addition to talking about the importance of maternal, newborn and child health, Sharaha shares vital information about the role that proper sanitation and hygiene also play in saving the lives of mothers and, in particular, newborns and infants, who are so susceptible to infection.
Sharaha says she was drawn to the program to help others in her community, but has experienced another, unexpected benefit in the process: “I have already gained considerable knowledge about various important health and development issues related to children, girls and women, but on top of that I’ve learned more about how to be a mother and take care of my own child more confidently.”
It’s thanks to the skills and dedication of people like Sharaha – and donors like you – that these maternal and infant health programs are having an impact and will continue to do so for years to come.
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This project receives financial support from the Government of Canada through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).