This is How You Are Saving Lives in Bangladesh

Hlaa me u lives in a village where pregnant mothers are afraid to go to the clinic or hospitals. The mothers don’t rely on modern medical care. The nearby clinic has some limited facilities for safe baby deliveries, but old superstitions keep the villagers away.

Hlaa me u is from the Marma tribe of Bangladesh, and the majority of Marma babies are delivered at home by a local wet-nurse. Often the wet-nurses lack knowledge of midwifery, which has caused the deaths of many children.

Money is also a big issue. It costs around 3,000 Taka ($43) at the local clinic for child delivery. Hlaa me u’s day-laborer husband earns less than 1,200 Taka ($17) per month. She had no other option than giving birth to her first child at home.

Young mother with a big smile holding her newborn baby

Hlaa me u lives in a small, one-room bamboo hut with her husband, mother and sister. They don’t have any furniture. There is no electricity  or water supply at their house. They sleep on the floor at night.

Hlaa me didn’t receive proper maternity care when she was pregnant. There were days when she had to starve with her family. She couldn’t work during her pregnancy, so her husband was the only one earning in the family.

“I felt so tired and weak during my pregnancy. I didn’t know that I need to have an improved diet for my baby’s health.”

In October 2010, during her seventh month of pregnancy, Hlaa me was registered as the 39th mother of Compassion Bangladesh’s Rowangchari Child Survival Program (CSP) at the local church. It was a special experience for her.

Hlaa me learned how to properly care for her newborn baby. She was expecting the baby in the first week of November, but her daughter came to this world one month early. The CSP implementer at the center is a well-trained nurse by the name of Vanzir. She assisted Hlaa me with the birth of her first child, who was born safely at home.

This assistance saved Hlaa me 3,000 Taka ($43), which is a large amount considering her economic condition.

The baby was healthy and weighed 2.8 kilograms (6.72 pounds). Hlaa me attends the center four times a month. Learning is not the only activity she is involved with. She also gets proper nutrition, a new set of traditional dress, a pair of shoes, a bottle of Horlics (energy drink), toiletries (shampoo, soap, hair oil), baby oil, baby lotion and baby powder.

“I never expected these gifts. I knew about the children’s program (child sponsorship). But Compassion is equally careful for the pregnant mothers and the mothers with little babies. I couldn’t afford these for my baby. They also visited me and my baby several times. My baby is lucky to receive such love.”

Vanzir joined Compassion recently and is excited about her new role.

“It is a special experience for me to serve these mothers. I visited Hlaa me’s house several times. I knew her family condition. Thank God that He blessed them through Compassion. The lives of the babies in this community depend on fate.

“These families are not aware of the benefit of modern treatment at hospitals. They are afraid to go to hospital, and most of them don’t have the capability to pay hospital fees. Hlaa me’s family doesn’t have the ability to pay the hospital fee and had to take the service from uneducated wet-nurse. That could bring both the mother and child in danger. It was an amazing experience to see a newborn baby.”

Young mother in red with her newborn baby getting assistance by a health worker
Mothers like Hlaa me in the Marma community are giving birth to their babies without any modern medical attention. The fate of the baby depends on the health of the mother and the expertise of the uneducated wet-nurses. Thirty times out of 100 the wet-nurses fail to save the babies.

You help give hope to these pregnant mothers through the Child Survival Program.

Now the mothers will be under the care of the expert CSP implementer during deliveries. It will ultimately decrease the chance of infant mortality. The awareness program, baby training and other assistance (like nutrition and baby kits) at our centers helps ensure healthy mothers and babies.

Thank you for supporting these deprived mothers and babies. Your loving contributions impact the fate of these babies and ensure healthy lives.

1 Comment |Add a comment

  1. shawn thomas December 2, 2010

    I am always amazed at how little money it takes to change a person’s life! $43 to deliver a baby. WOW! I am glad there are organizations like compassion internationally and others that give us an outlet to help and participate in things like this.

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