40 ways BRAC supports mothers in Bangladesh: Snapshot from 2018

May 16, 2019

Reading Time: 3 minutes

On this month of Mother’s Day, we want to express our gratitude and show appreciation towards mothers and all the mother figures worldwide.

Mothers are everything to us. We couldn’t imagine a world without them. So, just like mothers look after their children in every aspect of our lives, BRAC looks after mothers in every aspect of their life. We are building a world that works for all of us, starting with the people who brought us to this world.

One woman dies every minute as a result of pregnancy complications and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, and many of them could be prevented with access to basic health care services. 1.5 million pregnant women received maternity care services (including antenatal and postnatal care) through the health, nutrition and population programme. 2,634 pregnant women were screened for TB and 67 confirmed cases were found, through our communicable diseases programme. We also ensured that pregnant employees taking staff transport could avail the front seats of staff buses.

One-third of all births worldwide are performed without a skilled professional. Birth attendants assisted 832,915 mothers to deliver their babies through the health, nutrition and population programme.

BDT 3,504,000 in financial support for deliveries was received by mothers working in the Ayesha Abed Foundation (which produces for Aarong) through the health security scheme.

Breastfeeding and proper nutrition is critical to mothers and babies during the first years of life. 3.4 million mothers and pregnant women received nutrition counselling and 1.7 million mothers received awareness on breastfeeding through the health, nutrition and population programme. Breastfeeding corners across 1,365 microfinance branches and 14 in-house daycare centres (BRAC Head Office, Aarong Head Office and 12 Ayesha Abed Foundation Centres) were used. Mothers received 30 minutes extra during lunch time to breastfeed children in BRAC Head Office and mothers working at Ayesha Abed Foundation received nutritional awareness. Breastfeeding spaces started to be introduced into fashion outlets.

Health worker Rashida checking an expecting mother’s health condition in Gaibandha, Bangladesh. ©BRAC/Sumon Yusuf

Maternal mortality is higher for women living in poverty and women living in rural areas. 1,088 pregnant mothers living in ultra-poverty received antenatal care with referrals to government clinics through the Ultra-Poor Graduation programme. 11,070 mothers in hard-to-reach areas (primarily haor and char regions) received antenatal care, 9,201 received postnatal care, and 7,810 received safe delivery care through the integrated development programme.

Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. Mothers received counselling on hand washing before eating, feeding children, and after the use of latrines, and households with pregnant mothers were advised to construct their latrines in compounds, through the water and sanitation programme.

Mothers living in urban areas received specialised services. Three one-stop service centres for workers in RMG factories provided free-of-charge antenatal and postnatal care. 28 garment factories ensured women received pregnancy-related awareness messages through peer educator training. Maternity healthcare coverage of BDT 9,500 was available to workers in ready-made garment factories partnering with BRAC.

2,246 pregnant and lactating female workers in ready-made garment factories received paid maternity leave, employment protection, and safe breastfeeding spaces through the health, nutrition and population programme.

A young mother in Gazipur, Bangladesh, takes part in a BRAC health forum meeting with her newborn. ©BRAC/Sumon Yusuf

New parents were supported to adjust back to work after having children. Mothers received six months’ leave with pay (extendable to six more without pay), fathers received one month of paternity leave with pay (applicable for newborn or adopted children), adopting mothers received three months’ leave with pay, and miscarriage leave of 15 days with salary is also granted. 1,145 mothers received maternity allowance through the community empowerment programme.

Mothers were not transferred from the time of conceiving to six months after childbirth. Spouses working together at BRAC were given special consideration when planning transfers. If leaving Dhaka, female employees with a maximum one year old child could avail the option of taking a caretaker.

We stood with parents working hard to raise the next generation. Mothers’ forums were held during monthly parents meetings in early childhood development centres, and 2,200 mothers volunteered to supervise sessions with teachers through the education programme.

23,724 mothers were oriented on non-discrimination, child sexual abuse, and positive parenting, and 12,093 mothers were reached through awareness efforts on safe motherhood and shared responsibilities through the gender justice and diversity programme.

Jhorna Akhter, a Community Health Worker conducts a group health education session in Gazipur, Bangladesh. ©BRAC/Shehzad Noorani

We supported mothers to understand their rights and realise them. 41,861 mothers received legal education and legal aid services, 27,067 complaints made by mothers were received at legal aid clinics, and 18,168 complaints were resolved through alternative dispute resolution. In addition, 332 mothers were supported to send cases to court, 4,484 cases submitted by mothers were judged, and USD 5 million was claimed and recovered through court cases in favour of mothers through the human rights and legal aid services programme.

We worked with mothers displaced from their homes. 48,093 women in Rohingya communities in camps were provided with antenatal care, 8,720 were provided with postnatal care, 1,088 babies were delivered in primary healthcare centres, 27,583 mothers were provided with family planning counselling sessions and services, and 34,957 pregnant and lactating women in Rohingya communities in camps received calcium supplements through the humanitarian programme.

On this month of Mother’s Day, we want to express our gratitude and show appreciation towards mothers and all the mother figures worldwide. Thank you for everything you do. And for the new mothers out there, we have good news – Taaga has a maternity clothing line! Go and grab a beautiful piece.


Marium Mahzabin is the communications specialist, BRAC Communications. Sarah-Jane Saltmarsh is the head of programme and enterprise communications, BRAC Communications.

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