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For mother and child

  • Published at 12:03 am September 13th, 2019
Children
Photo: LATIF HOSSAIN

Bangladesh still faces the twin plagues of a high mortality rate and a high fertility rate

It is extremely regrettable that even after moving forward in so many indices related to gender equality, Bangladesh still faces the twin plagues of a high mortality rate and a high fertility rate.

The two problems seem to be feeding into each other. As families experience high child mortality rates, they opt for more children to be on the safe side. On the other hand, a high maternal mortality rate affects the development of the country and corrodes the empowerment of women.

A major reason for this problem is the inadequacy of health services in the peripheral regions -- our health services, it seems, are heavily concentrated in the urban regions that are already overdeveloped. On the other hand, the rural regions lack enough trained doctors, nurses, and midwives to support the women in need. As such, the mortality rate among pregnant women shoots up.

It is imprudent of us to expect the government to solely cater to the egregious health care burden of our burgeoning population as most of our health services are provided by the private sector. The fact itself shows how inadequate our public health sector is in providing services to the most vulnerable population. 

It is impractical to hope for private companies to be able to set up camps in the more remote and rural regions, and although some NGOs do provide these services, it is the government’s duty to step up.

There also needs to be a stronger advocacy campaign to popularize family planning among the rural poor. While the government has already shown great strides in reducing the population through advocacy, the trend must continue. Stigma around birth control methods needs to be countered and family planning needs to be popularized.

If the advocacy campaign is coupled with a widespread health care outreach, we may experience a reduction in mortality rates and fertility rates, and all the improvements that come along with it.