The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday launched an initiative to strengthen the Menstrual Regulation (MR) programme to reduce maternal mortality in Bangladesh.
The objectives of this programme are to ensure quality of MR and to share the knowledge of safe motherhood. WHO has invited interested NGOs working on MR and research institutions to submit concept notes and project proposals. Independent experts will be awarded grants through a competitive process.
A fund of $2.73 million, which was established with funding from the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation and in partnership with the government of Bangladesh and NGOs working on MR, will support such projects over a four-year period starting from 2008.
WHO will provide technical support as the lead agency.
Speaking at the launching ceremony at a city hotel, AKM Zafar Ullah Khan said, "The death of every fifth woman who dies as a consequence of pregnancy and labour is due to complications of unsafe abortion."
The goal of this initiative is to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in Bangladesh with an emphasis on equity issues to achieve millennium development goal, he added.
WHO Representative Dr Duangvadee Sungkhobol said WHO as a technical agency will continue its support to the government in the analysis and generating the evidence and subsequent development of norms, standards, policies and strategies related to MR and broader reproductive health issues.
Dr Fritz Meijndert, head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of the Netherlands, said that the government of Netherlands provided funds for the initiative as a reflection of its commitment and support to Bangladesh in its prioritised endeavor to address the leading causes of maternal morbidity and mortality.
Dr Mohammed Abul Faiz, director general of Directorate General of Health Services, also spoke at the programme chaired by Quamrun Nessa Khanam, director general, Directorate of Family Planning.