Col Dr Najma Begum, of the 12th Medical Battalion of Bangladesh Army, contingent commander of a 56-member medical team in the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), was honoured during a medal parade on August 16, an ISPR press release said.
Col Najma Begum and her team were honoured by UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Aichatou Mindaoudou.
“The Bangladesh Medical battalion will be remembered not only for the extensive medical care provided to the local communities, but also for the fact that it was commanded by Col Nazma Begum, the first woman to ever lead a medical battalion in United Nations history,” Deputy Special Representative M’Baye Babacar Cissé said at the ceremony.
The United Nations in its award recognised her exemplary leadership and for displaying “extraordinary skills in dealing with issues of SEA, reproductive health, child care, HIV/AIDS.”
“With her passion for safe motherhood, she requested her government to bring in a gynecologist from her army to deal with special complications on maternity cases,” the award said.
“She created a conducive environment where not only women but also men who had suffered sexual violence and acquired sexually transmitted diseases could speak freely...This led to many women reporting SEA and gender based violence cases and getting counseling and treatment.”
In addition to the award, Col Najma was selected for the ‘Gender Military Advocate of the Year 2016’ by the UN.
The “Blue Helmets,” the 56-member Bangladeshi medical contingent she successfully led, was also praised for its exemplary behaviour.