Ending Child Marriage
Launched in 2005, WRA Bangladesh advances maternal and newborn health across the country to ensure that no woman dies from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Over the past decade, WRA Bangladesh and partners led a maternal health campaign that saw a 40% reduction in maternal deaths. However, more than 75% of all women in Bangladesh still give birth at home without a skilled midwife. Access to health information is practically non-existent and medical resources are scarce, so all too often, life-threatening complications are not spotted in time. WRA Bangladesh is working to build the capacity of health workers, community clinic support members and NGOs to effectively support pregnant women and their families to plan for a happy and healthy child birth by promoting improved maternal, newborn and child health through improved policies on self-care. By enhancing self-care’s role in community health, WRA Bangladesh is giving voice to the poor and marginalized women of Bangladesh.
Over the years, WRA Bangladesh raised awareness within Bangladesh that mothers and newborns are dying from preventable causes and that this is a violation of their rights.
Facing significant natural disasters and infrastructure challenges, more than 95% of women in rural Bangladesh fail to appropriately prepare for safe delivery, contributing to high death and disabilities to mothers and babies.
Because many women living in remote coastal rural Bangladesh do not have access to medically trained birth attendants, quality health services, or emergency care, frontline health workers and community volunteers need to be trained, equipped and supported to provide counseling to pregnant women about birth preparedness.
WRA Bangladesh’s Self-Care Project is building the knowledge and skills of health workers so that they can provide consistent, quality and respectful care, allowing them to more effectively support pregnant women and their families in planning and preparing for a healthy pregnancy and child birth, ultimately setting a national standard. WRA Bangladesh’s work with the Ministry of Health is enabling the establishment of a nationwide standard for birth preparedness through self-care and women-centered practices. With self-care, the individual is the driver of their own health. By ensuring that women have the information and resources needed to proactively and effectively care for themselves and their families, positive ripple effects for the individual, family, community, provider and health system will be felt for generations. Learn more here.
By developing tools – like the rapid assessment checklist on the quality of services for maternal and newborn health and the Charter of Rights for maternal and newborn health services – and working with Parliamentarians to reinforce their responsibilities to the women in their constituencies, WRA Bangladesh has led the way on a national maternal health movement that is saving the lives of mothers and their children across Bangladesh.
WRA Bangladesh News
Understanding women’s needs is vital to ensuring they get the health care services they are entitled to. Here, a community healthworker interviews a woman about her experiences when seeking care for herself, her children and family.
Asma Begum goes to the hospital for health services during her pregnancy. Part of WRA Bangladesh’s self-care project includes preparing women and families for their health needs, like recognizing warning signs and arranging for transport early, avoiding emergencies.
A pregnant mother receives pre-natal service from a community health care provider at the Fulkhali Community Clinic. WRA Bangladesh’s self-care project includes educating women about the recommended number of pre-natal visits and helping her devise a plan to get to the clinic.
Nipa Begum gets her hair styled with support of her in-laws. This self-care practice during pregnancy is one way her family is helping Nipa to be relaxed and happy, which will help her and her newborn be healthy.
At the start of a project, WRA brings together health workers, government officials, community organizations and other local partners to determine the community’s maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health priorities and come up with a plan to address them.
Sefali Begum, a lactating mother, took iron tablet from a Family Welfare assistant. Educating women about their nutritional needs during pregnancy and throughout the breastfeeding period is a key component of the WRA Bangladesh self-care project.
A trainer talks with Nupur Begam and her family about how to plan for birth. Birth preparedness is a central component of WRA Bangladesh’s self-care program, equipping women with knowledge and confidence to direct their own care.
Sanjita Rani safely delivered a healthy baby after birth planning with WRA Bangladesh and its self-care program.
Thank you to our partners
Community Development and Health Care Center
Bangladesh Ministry of Health
FARHANA AHMAD, MD
National Coordinator, WRA Bangladesh
Dr. Farhana Ahmad is a medical school graduate who has been working for improved public health and women’s empowerment for nearly twenty years. She became the National Coordinator of WRA Bangladesh in 2005, previously holding positions with CARE Bangladesh, USAID, and Save the Children. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Dr. Ahmad served as the course coordinator for a trainer’s project on hospital hygiene and infection control in the Ob-Gyn unit of a large hospital.