238940 Engaging communities to improve maternal and newborn health in Netrakona district, Bangladesh

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Janet Perkins, MPH , Health Programmes, Enfants du Monde, Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland
Gabriel Rozario , Secretary/Director, PARI Development Trust, Mymensingh, Bangladesh
Muzahid Ali , South Asia Field Office, Enfants du Monde, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Cecilia Capello, MIHMEP , Health Programmes, Enfants du Monde, Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland
Annie Portela , Department of Making Pregnancy Safer, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
Carlo Santarelli, MA , Secretary General, Enfants du Monde, Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland
Background: In the effort to assist Bangladesh in reaching Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5, Ministry of Health, PARI Development Trust and other partners, supported by Enfants du Monde, implemented a maternal and newborn health (MNH) programme based on the WHO framework for working with Individuals, Families and Communities (IFC) in Netrakona district. The programme's focus is building the capacities of women and families to prepare for birth and emergencies, to increase skilled attendance at birth, and to ensure the support of the broader community.

Methods: Community involvement is central to each phase of programme implementation. In collaboration with healthcare providers, the community is mobilized to identify MNH problems and elaborates a birth and emergency preparedness (BEP) plan, implemented with the assistance of community healthcare workers who educate and motivate women and families. During meetings, communities explore solutions to barriers to healthcare access.

Results: All actors involved in MNH have been trained in BEP, and many women have been assisted in developing BEP plans. Healthcare providers have noticed an increase in women seeking antenatal care following awareness campaigns. Through mobilization efforts, communities have purchased three rickshaw vans for transporting pregnant women and established seven health funds to provide interest-free loans for costs related to pregnancy and birth.

Conclusion: Communities, when assisted and given the necessary tools, can be empowered to take a leading role in addressing the risks faced by mothers and newborns and overcoming barriers to healthcare access, thus optimizing the potential to achieve MDG 4 and 5.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the essential role of the community at all phases of maternal and newborn health programme implementation.

Keywords: International MCH, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I participate in the management of maternal and newborn health programs in developing countries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.