White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Bangladesh
Dr. Farhana Ahmad
c/o Concern Worldwide
House-15 SW (D), Road 7
- Capital City
- Lifetime risk of maternal death
- 1 in 170
- Maternal Mortality Ratio
- Births attended by skilled personnel
“My country has made tremendous progress in the past decade, with deaths in childbirth down by 40%,” says Farhana Ahmad of White Ribbon Alliance Bangladesh, “and now we are working with parliamentarians to make sure the government keeps its promises to ensure that women do not die needlessly from pregnancy and childbirth.”
“Our government has said it will double the numbers of births attended by skilled professionals by training 3,000 more midwives by 2015 and making sure vital drugs are on hand for women during pregnancy and birth. They have also pledged to provide round the clock midwifery services in 427 sub-district health centres and to upgrade 59 District Hospitals to provide emergency obstetric care.”
There is still a long way to go, says Farhana: “three-quarters of women in Bangladesh still give birth at home without a skilled midwife, so all too often, life-threatening complications are not spotted in time. White Ribbon Alliance Bangladesh is now making communities aware of their entitlements so that citizens can raise their voices to demand the life-saving services which are their due.”
“We bring organisations and individuals under a common umbrella, creating a movement which lobbies to ensure that not another woman dies from preventable causes of pregnancy and childbirth. WRA gives voice to the poor and marginalised women of our country.
We provide a common platform to bring organisations and individuals together. Through White Ribbon Alliance, a diverse group in Bangladesh is advocating for maternal and newborn health rights. We are a movement that lobbies to end the atrocities associated with pregnancy and child birth.
White Ribbon Alliance has highlighted to everybody that mothers and newborns are dying from preventable causes and that this is a violation of their rights. We calculated the allocation of funds in the national budgets to show policy makers how meagre this allocation is and to lobby for more.
We highlight the issue through the media and television talk shows in order to raise awareness and we inform and work with Parliamentarians to reinforce their responsibilities towards the women in their constituencies.
We have developed a rapid assessment checklist on the quality of services for maternal and newborn health, so that anyone can assess the quality of services at their facilities. We are finalising a charter of rights for maternal and newborn health services which we hope will be used in all health facilities.
And we continue to remind our policy makers of the pledges they have made at different national and international forums and we advocate with them to implement these commitments."
To support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Strategy, WRA and Bayer made a joint 3-year commitment to identifying self-care priorities in the context of community health for marginalized populations. With self-care, the individual is the driver of their own health. By ensuring that women have the information and resources needed to proactively and effectively care for themselves and their families, positive ripple effects for the individual, family, community, provider and health system will be felt for generations.
Click HERE to read more about the Self-Care Project in Bangladesh.