Infant Mortality Rate and maternal mortality ratio continue to be high in Bangladesh as compared to other developing countries. Bangladesh has the highest infant mortality rates in the world with 53 out of 1000 dying beyond their first year and 69 out of 1000 children dying before the age of 5. The maternal mortality rate stands at 380 per 100000 live births. The high proportion of maternal deaths is attributed to the lack of emergency obstetric services, trained personnel and infrastructure problems. The major causes are injury, post par tum hemorrhage, unsafe abortion, and poor quality of maternity care services. The tragic consequences of these deaths are that about 75% of the babies born to these women also die within the first week of their lives.
Moreover, malnutrition, infections, anemia and repeated pregnancies contribute to low birth weight babies and a high rate of child mortality. Neonatal disorders, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition are the major causes of under-five mortality in the country. Lack of awareness among women in the country in basic issues relating to kid’s health, are additional factors resulting in a higher mortality rates in children.
Millions of lives could be saved if women and children had access to basic health services, in the country. Along with the Government, non-profit organizations like Touching Souls International are playing an important role in providing health care services, to mothers and children in Bangladesh. Touching Souls International has launched a free mother and child health care program to save lives of thousands of deprived people in rural areas. Their campaign includes:
- Educating women folk in all stages of pregnancy right from early days of conceiving to proper delivery of the child.
- Offering regular counseling to pregnant women regarding childbirth and making would be mothers aware of improving the minimum required body mass index that can prevent complications in pregnancy.
- Encouraging women to give birth with assistance from trained health personnel in a health centers and from experienced midwives, or trained birth attendants in absence of proper medical facility.
- Spreading awareness in people about teenage pregnancy which can prove to be fatal both for the child as well as the mother.
- Encouraging people to maintain age difference between their children as frequent pregnancy among women has been one of the primary reasons for the poor state of maternal health.
- Creating a support system within various communities in villages or certain pockets of the urban areas with an intention to improve maternal health.
- Educating the women folk on the basics of child health care which includes things like importance of breast feeding.
- Stressing on equal care for the girl child and bringing in positive changes in people’s approach to a girl child.
- Making parents aware of the basic nutritional requirement of a child by giving them proper break up of the food items required to attain those minimum levels of nutrition.
- Running awareness campaigns on the importance of vaccination for the children in the country and providing free immunization programs.
- Providing free reconstruction of cleft lip and cleft palate surgery for children and adults in different parts of the country.