“I became interested when I heard that this project aimed to save mothers, newborns and children. If I can save a single life of a mother or a newborn by providing health care services, it would be a great achievement for me. This will make my mother happy, and the souls of my sister and my brother will be pleased.” -Sweety Akter is a community health worker in BRAC’s maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) programme. At BRAC such workers are called Shashthya Kormi. They provide education and health services to pregnant and lactating women, newborns and children at home. Sweety lives in Goshaigonj, a small village in a remote rural district in north Bangladesh.
Sweety’s father, Mohammad Safiur Rahman, is a poor farmer. She is the second of four daughters. Like most traditional families her father desired a son and Sweety’s grand-parents and neighbours all blamed her mother for not having a son. To fulfill their desire her mother conceived for the fifth time and gave birth to a son. The family was overjoyed, but unfortunately this was short lived as the baby developed complications after birth which the traditional birth attendant was not able to recognize in time. The baby was taken to hospital where he died.
This article on BRAC Shasthya Kormi (SK) has published in the Newsletters of the South- East Asia Regional Office, World Health Organization on September version. The article contains the story of a SK working in the Gaibandha district.