Caritas Australia enabling healthy starts for Bangladeshi babies
BANGLADESH: In Bangladesh, maternal and infant mortality rates are still tragically high. According to a recent World Bank report, nearly 30 in 1,000 newborn babies die, while still more are born suffering malnutrition and low birth weight.
Salma was just 18 years old, pregnant and fearful for her life and that of her unborn child, when she featured in Project Compassion 2013, which is run by Caritas Australia, one of the largest International Aid and Development Agencies in the World. Thankfully, Salma heard about Caritas Australia’s program for rural midwives, the Safe Motherhood Program.
Word had reached Salma that mothers and babies in a midwife called Pronoti’s care suffered fewer complications during birth and in the critical months afterwards. Salma sought out Pronoti, who safely monitored her pregnancy and helped deliver Salma’s beautiful daughter.
Pronoti was able to help, thanks to the midwifery training she received through the Safe Motherhood Program supported by Caritas Australia. This comprehensive training means midwives like Pronoti can provide full antenatal and postnatal care, deliver babies, and refer mothers to hospital if needed.
To date the program has reduced maternal and infant mortality in the area by almost 70 percent. Over 400 women have been trained in midwifery since 2008 – and these new midwives have had an incredible impact, giving over 28,000 women antenatal checkups and delivering more than 15,000 babies.
Salma would like to say a big thank you to Caritas and the people of Australia for all their help. “We are poor and so it is easy to get discouraged about the future. However, if we have hope, we have the courage to try and do things that seem difficult or impossible at the time” Salma says.
Your support of Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten fundraising campaign, Project Compassion, is creating reliable maternal health services in communities like Salma’s. Visit lent.caritas.org.au
Source: Caritas Australia.