Globally, only 38% of mothers breastfeed exclusively, giving their babies nothing but breastmilk for the first six months. The figure is higher in Bangladesh, at 55%. But it is still not high enough. Exclusive breastfeeding is crucial for a baby’s healthy development. Aside from cultural traditions, and lack of knowledge, the need to work is also an influencing factor.
Bangladesh is largely an agricultural-based economy. According to the World Bank, almost half of all workers are directly employed by agriculture. The sector is credited with greatly reducing the country’s poverty rate due to rapid growth.
Making motherhood safe in Bangladesh is an achievable goal, but we have a long way to go before safe motherhood is a reality for all. The most fatal complications are easily preventable, and with quality care and facilities, we are striving to get there.
Bangladesh has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal and child malnutrition. An estimated six million children are chronically undernourished. Many pregnant women are underweight, anaemic, and consume a nutrient-poor diet.
Bangladesh is on a drive to train more midwives, a step seen as critical to reducing the maternal mortality rate. The country’s ratio of home deliveries vastly outnumber births at health facilities. In rural areas, it’s estimated only 20% of women give birth with a skilled birth attendant present. On International Day Of The Midwife, we honour women who are saving lives.