Poor maternal health and poverty are directly interrelated. Bangladesh being one of the poorest countries in the world has the worst maternal mortality rate in South Asia. It has been estimated that every year 21,000 women die during pregnancy or while giving birth to a child. Most of these deaths occur due to hemorrhage, anemia, hypertension and obstructed labor. Absence of medication for pregnant woman and delay in receiving the appropriate mode of transportation is also a major contributing factor to poor maternal health.
One of the major reasons for poor maternal health is the lack of skilled birth attendants which accounts for just 13% of all deliveries in Bangladesh. Another major reason for the poor maternal health is the fact that female children are not adequately nourished since their birth and generally conceive early in life. The resultant poor health and low birth weight has been carrying on for centuries.
The biggest challenge for the government and non-governmental organizations is how to improve maternal health condition of women in Bangladesh. The high levels of illiteracy among women acts as a major roadblock in all developmental projects. Nurture and Touching Souls International, a non profit organization has been working towards improving the medical state of women in Bangladesh. It has worked towards providing medication for pregnant woman. Some of the steps taken by Touching Souls International towards maternal health in Bangladesh are:
- Educating women folk in all stages of pregnancy right from early days of conceiving to proper delivery of the child. They are educated on the basic precautions to be taken during pregnancy.
- Most of the pregnant women in Bangladesh are under nourished which severely affects the child and contributes to the high mortality rate. Nurture and Touching Souls International, a non profit organization, plays an active role in making pregnant woman and her family aware about the necessary levels of nutrition.
- Improve the body mass index of the women who are expecting by making them aware of it. The body mass index of majority of the pregnant woman in Bangladesh are lower than the minimum required which leads to complications in pregnancy.
- Poor maternal health is also a result of socio economic condition of the women in the country. Touching Souls International has been raising awareness on women being granted equal status in the society.
- Making people aware of the harm of teenage pregnancy which can prove to be fatal both for the child as well as the mother.
- Encouraging people to maintain gap between their children. Frequent pregnancy among women in Bangladesh has been one of the primary reasons for the poor state of maternal health.
- Nurture and Touching Souls International is working on creating a support system within various communities be it in villages or certain pockets of the urban areas. This is aimed at making the entire community take steps towards the improvement of maternal health.