Pronita Rani Raha’s Story

This blog introduces one of the 2014 International Midwife Award winners Pronita Rani Raha. The awards were sponsored by The International Confederation of Midwives and Save the Children. This blog was adapted from Pronitas’ application. The award winners were announced at this year’s International Confederation of Midwives 30th Triennial Congress in Prague, Czech Republic on June 3rd. 

Pronita Rani Raha of Bangladesh, right, is presented with the 2014 International Midwife Award by Mary Higgins, Board Member of the International Confederation of Midwives, left, and Prof. Joy Lawn of Save the Children, center, at the ICM 30th Triennial Congress in Prague. Photo: Bex Morton/Save the Children

“During my 25 year career as a nurse in Bangladesh, I have seen the importance of skilled attendance at birth and become passionate about caring for mothers and newborns in my country. I have been fortunate to play a part in many happy birthdays, and have also fought for mothers who’ve struggled during childbirth. Today, now that my country has embraced midwifery as an important cadre for improved survival, I am proud to be among the first who are training other nursing instructors and senior staff nurses around Bangladesh to teach and develop the midwifery education program.”

Pronita Rani Raha embodies the promise of a country that is committed to deliver for its women. She aspires to promote the right to maternal health and establish proper midwifery education programs across Bangladesh. As an instructor at Dhaka Nursing College, she firmly believes that the newly developed cadre of dedicated midwives will be able to meet the needs of women in Bangladesh, especially those who struggle to access quality care.

Pronita Rani Raha, right, looks at photos with fellow 2014 International Midwife Award winner Agnes Kasaigi of Uganda during the ICM Congress in Prague, June 2nd. Photo: Bex Morton/Save the Children.

“The lack of health education and information are some of the main reasons that hamper the sustainability of health services,” reflects Pronita. “But the commitment made by our Honorable Prime Minister to educate 3,000 midwives and employ them in the health care system in Bangladesh by 2015 is coming into action, and I am honored to be a part of this change for my fellow women and their babies.”

Pronita has a clear understanding of what a professional midwife is able to achieve for the well-being of women and their children. She has been involved in the development of the curriculum, syllabus and lesson plans for the three-year diploma in midwifery program. The first two batches of students into the direct entry program is scheduled to give Bangladesh over 1250 midwives by 2015. In parallel, practicing nurses have enrolled in a 6-month advanced midwifery program, and many of them have been deployed to serve mothers and their newborns around the country.

2014 International Midwife Award winner Pronita Rani Raha speaks
at the Every Newborn midwives session at the ICM Congress in Prague.
Photo: Bex Morton/Save the Children.

Pronita devotes six days a week to teaching future midwives and in her free time she is also an active member of the Bangladesh Midwifery Society, which was established just three years ago. “I try to encourage and inspire them (student midwives) to show professionalism, responsibility, and accountability. Not only for themselves and for their career ladder, but for their patients.”

For her active contribution to the improvement of the health and survival of mothers and babies, she has been awarded the 2014 International Midwife Award at the 30th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).She is leaving the Congress in Prague with a renewed energized about her work. She is more determined than ever to help advance the midwifery profession and continue training Bangladesh’s future midwives. “I’m inspired, even more so than before. I feel more responsible for the profession.”


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