Text and voice messages help close Bangladesh health gap

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

DHAKA, 1 July 2014 (IRIN) – Bangladesh is moving to boost maternal health services in poorly-served rural areas by targeting voice and text messages at expectant and pregnant mothers and their families. The aim is to educate and support mothers in places where health services are weak.

“There is a gap between rural and urban areas in terms of maternal health services. Government and non-governmental organizations must address the gap to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG),” Iqbal Anwar, a reproductive health researcher at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDRB) in Dhaka, told IRIN.

Bangladesh’s Maternal Mortality Ratio has decreased significantly in recent years.

In 2001 the country recorded 322 deaths per 100,000 live births, which by 2010 was reduced to 194, putting the country on track to achieve its MDG target of 143 by 2015. However, experts warn, a rural service gap lurks behind the data.

A 2014 ICDDRB report found that childbirth services were severely lacking in Bangladesh’s rural health care centres: 80 percent of upazila (sub-district) health centres lack staff trained in paediatrics, and maternity care facilities fall 42 percent short of demand for beds.

Source: IRIN News (link opens in a new window)

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