Hope in Bangladesh

Our grantee, the Hope Foundation provides healthcare to underserved women and children in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the region with the highest mortality rate in the country. 70 to 90 percent of mothers deliver at home, most without receiving prenatal care, and 88 percent without the assistance of trained birth attendants. Our grant helps support HOPE’s program to provide full prenatal, antenatal and postpartum care.

While increasing delivery rates at hospitals and safe birth facilities is a major goal, HOPE is realistic that their greatest chance for saving lives is to reach women delivering at home and provide them with basic information and supplies that may save lives. Each mother receives a safe birth kit of hygienic supplies and a specialized mat that provides a clean birth surface and measures blood loss. HOPE trains the mother, her family and/or local birth attendant on how to keep her birth clean and that if the mat shows a blood loss of 500 ml, that mother needs emergency care. They also provide post partum follow up and newborn care, family planning counseling and supplies.

HOPE’s staff shared a story about one mother, Humaira, whom HOPE is helping prepare for the safe birth of her third child.

Humaira Begum is the mother of two children ages five and seven, and she’s currently expecting her third baby. She has a better understanding of maternal health care than many in her community. In the socio-cultural context of where she lives, Humaira is an outlier. Her knowledge of proper care during pregnancy and for her children provides hope that although they are few, women in Bangladesh are becoming more conscious about their maternity issues and empowered to plan and act.

Humaira didn’t think she could conceive after having her older children but even though this baby is a surprise, she’s excited. She’s also glad her other children are older so she can give due attention to her newborn. After experiencing some challenges during her previous labors, Humaira prefers hospital birth over home delivery, which is far more common in her village. She delivered her first two babies at a facility that had female staff, a separate delivery room and minimal expenses, and had positive experiences. With this baby, she’ll deliver at HOPE Hospital where she receives antenatal care services.

HOPE’s care covers all aspects of prenatal care and Humaira’s delivery plan includes financial preparation and travel arrangements. She’s planning to reach the area near the hospital two or three days before her due date and she’ll be drive to the hospital if she faces any complication. If the delivery takes place at night or she’s referred to another medical facility she’ll use a hospital ambulance.

After delivery Humaira will breastfeed for at least three years (like she did with her older children) to help her child develop physically and intellectually. She’s also planning to get advice on family planning. She knows that having a bigger family prevents mothers from providing proper care and resources for all her children and increases the likelihood they’ll have a bleak future. She’s happy with the care she receives from HOPE, happy to be a mother and happy knowing that she can expect to deliver safely.

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