PM for public-private role to reduce maternal mortality
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasised bringing down maternal and infant mortality rate to the desired level through participation and coordinated efforts of the government and private entrepreneurs on 19 June at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital. She expressed her firm belief that Bangladesh will certainly achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including reduction of maternal mortality to 134 per one lakh while child mortality to 20 per thousand by 2015. The Prime Minister was addressing a prize distribution ceremony, marking the Safe Motherhood Day 2013 and earlier, the prime minister distributed prizes among some persons for their excellence in imparting comprehensive emergency obstetric care. Some 49 persons from seven divisions received the prize this year. She requested all to take extra care of pregnant mothers to ensure the birth of healthy babies. Apart from government efforts, the prime minister said various non-government organisations including Unicef, UNFPA and WHO are jointly implementing different programmes on mother and child health. She also said that the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) recognized Bangladesh for achieving MDG-1 by reducing the number of extreme poor earlier than the 2015 deadline.
She said Bangladesh received the MDG-4 and South-South awards for its remarkable contribution in reducing the child mortality rate and providing healthcare services using information technology. The country was also given awards for Global Alliance of Vaccination and Immunisation in 2009 and 2012 for its outstanding success in the regular immunisation programme for children, she added. Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr AFM Ruhal Haq, Advisor to the Prime Minister Prof Syed Modasser Ali, State Minister for Health Capt (rtd) Mujibur Rahman Fakir, DG Health Khandalkar Mohd Sefayet Ullah and DG Family Planning AKM Amir Hossain also spoke at the function. Health Secretary M N Niaz Uddin presided.
Directorate General Health Services (DGHS) and Directorate General Family Planning IEM (DGFP-IEM)
Safe Motherhood Day 2013
On 28 June MCHIP/Save the Children played a big role in celebrating Safe Motherhood Day 2013 with the theme, ‘Proshuti Maa-er Jotno Nin, Matri Mrittu Rodh Korun’ (translation: 'Care for pregnant and postnatal mothers, prevent maternal mortality') in collaboration with Directorate General Health Services (DGHS) and Directorate General Family Planning IEM (DGFP-IEM). The Project collaborated with DGHS to decorate 10 central locations of Dhaka city with safe motherhood messages and with DGFP-IEM by taking up a stall at the ‘Mayer Kotha’ Mela at Channel i to disseminate messages on safe motherhood. Aponjon, another MCHIP Project being implemented by D.Net shared the stall with MaMoni. The USAID-supported MaMoni Project of Save the Children distributed simple hand fans with messages on both sides; on one side the 5 danger signs of labour and on the other, the three delays that lead to maternal mortality. This hand fan was a bumper hit amongst the audience in the intense heat of Dhaka summer and is expected to have the same results in Habiganj, Noakhali and Lakhsmipur Districts where MCHIP/Save the Children staff are working at the District and Upazila level to observe safe motherhood day! Popular Bangladeshi celebrities performed at the event focusing on the theme and made the event colourful and entertaining. The entire program was aired live by Channel i including a short intro to MaMoni followed by a 3 minute clip prepared by MCHIP (edited by Tanvir Ahmed, our Communication & Resource Mobilization team member from Save the Children!) on the MaMoni Project activities that aim to reduce maternal and newborn health outcomes at Habiganj District.
Ensuring food safety big challenge
Food Minister Abdur Razzaque said on 3 June that although the country has achieved profound success in food production in the last four and a half years, ensuring food safety is now a big challenge. Many people are now at the risk of different health hazards mainly due to consuming adulterated food. The minister was addressing as chief guest at a seminar on “Food Safety Act 2013” organised by Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) at its conference room. The government has taken initiatives to enact a strict law to resist food adulteration, he ahared adding that the ministry was trying to make the law to be passed in the incoming budget session of the parliament.
Though the draft on the proposed food safety law has prescribed death penalty for adulteration, the government would like to take opinions from all in this regard. Awami League (AL) lawmaker MA Latif was a special guest at the seminar while CCCI President Mahbubul Alam was in the chair. MA Latif insisted that instead of officials of different ministries, representatives from district level doctors, teachers should be included as members in the proposed advisory council on national safe food management.
Bangladesh is set to get UN recognition as one of the first countries that have achieved the most fundamental millennium development goal (MDG) — halving the incidence of hunger — well ahead of the target year 2015. To hail this feat, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva has invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to receive a “Diploma Award”. The population below the poverty line dropped from over 58 percent in 1990 (the MDG base year) to 31.50 percent in 2010. And on Wednesday, FAO declared that Bangladesh succeeded in halving hunger, in other words, the population below the poverty line has further dropped to around 29 percent. Food Minister Mohammad Abdur Razzaque told that on behalf of the prime minister he is going to Italy to receive the award at the UN body’s headquarters in Rome on June 16. “In the invitation, FAO said it would bestow us with the honour as recognition to Bangladesh’s outstanding achievement in fighting hunger,”the food minister said quoting from the FAO DG’s invitation Letter.
In a press release issued from Rome on June 12, FAO declared that 38 countries have met internationally-established targets in the fight against hunger, achieving successes ahead of the deadline set for 2015. The countries achieving MDG-1 alone are Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, the Maldives, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Togo and Uruguay. The success in MDG-1 apart, Bangladesh also made significant strides in achieving the other UN-set MDG targets and is on track to achieve most of those, according to the government’s and UN agencies’ reckonings. Bangladesh is among the 16 countries which had earlier received UN recognition for being on track to achieve MDG- 4 by significantly reducing prevalence of child mortality. In attaining MDG-2 (that is achieving universal primary education), Bangladesh already achieved 95 percent in terms of primary school enrolment back in 2011.As far as MDG-3 (promoting gender equality and empowering women) is concerned, Bangladesh also achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education, and remains on track with respect to percentage of women employed in agriculture sector. On MDG-5 (improving maternal health), a UN agency report in 2011 highlighted that by scaling down maternal mortality rate at 194 per lakh, Bangladesh showed a major turn around, and was steadily moving ahead to achieved the goal by 2015.
WB assessment report sees Bangladesh well on track to reach MDG
Poverty rate in Bangladesh will drop between 23.34 and 26.51 percent of the total population by 2015 provided that the country maintains its current pace of poverty reduction, according to World Bank estimates. On 20 June Thrusday, the Washington-based lender released a poverty assessment report on Bangladesh, which says the country is on track for reaching its poverty reduction target under the MDGs and that the country would halve the poverty headcount to 28.5 percent sometime in 2013.
“Against the odds, Bangladesh lifted 16 million people out of poverty in the last 10 years, and also reduced inequality; that is a rare and remarkable achievement,” Johannes Zutt, WB Country Director for Bangladesh, said at the launching of the WB report at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka. Finance Minister AMA Muhith called for administrative reforms, and delegating more power to local government bodies in order to maintain the country’s economic growth and its success in eradicating poverty, speaking at the event. There are 15 crore people in the country. For this population, everything is decided from Dhaka. It is an impossible task. The system is corrupt, inefficient and wasteful, and it will never be able to achieve total success.However, poverty continues to be a daunting problem, as nearly 47 million people still live in poverty and another 26 million in extreme poverty. Poverty in rural areas is more pervasive and extreme than in urban areas, whereas urban areas remain relatively more unequal, said the WB. Dean Jolliffe, senior economist of the WB and co-author of the report added that for sustained poverty reduction, Bangladesh needs coordinated multi-sectoral action.