Vol. 5 Num 990 Wed. March 14, 2007  

'Reduce maternal mortality rate to achieve MDG'

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is still high in the country and this will have to be reduced to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG), said Health and Family Welfare Adviser Major General (Retd) Dr ASM Matiur Rahman yesterday.

He said the present MMR in the country is 320 per one hundred thousand which should be reduced to 220 by 2015.

The adviser was speaking as chief guest at the inaugural session of a workshop on 'Safe Motherhood Promotion Project (SMPP)', a joint collaborative programme of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Ministry of Health, at Biam auditorium in the city.

Matiur said every mother must have the facility to deliver the baby safely and every newborn baby must get all the health advantages.

Speaking as special guest Ambassador of Japan Masayuki Inoue said many health indicators have improved significantly in Bangladesh over the recent years.

But the MMR is still high in comparison to other countries that needs to be addressed, he added.

" The $3.3 million SMPP along with government's Health Nutrition Population Sector Programme (HNPSP) will continue till 2010 to enhance the primary healthcare services, especially the delivery system at community level," the envoy added.

He said the diseases and deaths related to pregnancy and delivery are sometimes reflecting the fragile position of women in local families and communities.

He hoped that the programme of improving safe motherhood will directly strengthen women's security and improve gender situation in Bangladesh.

Health and Family Welfare Secretary Ehsan Ul Fattah, Joint Chief of the Planning Khodeza Begum, Director General of Family Planning Abdul Mannan, Director General of Health Services Dr M Shahjahan Biswas and JICA Resident Representative Akio Arai also spoke on the occasion.

The SMPP started in six upazilas in Narsingdi in 2006

to improve health status of women of reproductive ages and newborn infants.

This is a pilot project and will continue till 2010 covering around 22 lakh people.

The strategies of the SMPP will be public-private partnership, capacity development and community empowerment, the speakers said.