Bilkis Begum and her baby girl.
Photo: MamMoni Project
This blog was originally published by MCHIP. Written by Areba Panni.
Joskesori Village, Habiganj District—In late summer, 23-year-old Bilkis Begum delivered a baby girl at Shipasha Union Health and Family Welfare Center (UH&FWC) in rural Bangladesh. This birth, the 500th safe delivery at the rural, hard-to-reach facility, is what makes it remarkable; just two years ago, access to 24-hour safe delivery services by skilled birth attendants was non-existent at Shipasha UH&FWC.
At that time, Bilkis’s first baby, a boy, was born at home and delivered by an untrained traditional birth attendant. However, as members of the community action group in their village, Bilkis and her husband became more aware of the importance of maternal and newborn health services. As a result, Bilkis visited Shibpasha UH&FWC consistently for her antenatal checkups during her second pregnancy, and made up her mind early to have an institutional delivery.
As it turned out, her baby was the 500th newborn to be delivered safely at the facility in Shibpasha, making way for another milestone achieved by the facility. Bilkis is very happy to have delivered under the care of a skilled birth attendant.
MaMoni is a USAID associate award to the MCHIP Program, implemented by Save the Children and two local nongovernmental organizations, Shimantik and FIVDB.
In 2011, MaMoni, in partnership with KOICA and Save the Children/Korea, initiated the renovation and staffing of two government owned UH&FWCs (at Shibpasha and Kakailseo) to provide high-quality maternal and newborn health and family planning services, and to ensure round the clock normal delivery services. The facility in Shibpasha opened its doors to the community in October 2011 and two more union health facilities (Murakuri and Kakailseo) followed.
The facilities provide safe delivery services around the clock by skilled paramedics who have prior hands-on training experience at the District Hospital and Maternal and Child Welfare Center. Interestingly, the facilities are centered around a network initiated by the MaMoni project that links volunteers and frontline health workers in the community with the wider health system, thus strengthening community engagement, improving service delivery, and enhancing systems strengthening.
In 2013, two more existing facilities in hard to reach unions (Daulatpur and Khagaura) were streamlined by the project for 24/7 delivery services, and another (at Nabiganj Union) is expected to be launched by the end of the year in Habiganj.