A new Save the Children report on state of mothers’ put Bangladesh at 130th out of 178 countries globally, seven notches up from India and 17 from Pakistan, a toughest place for mother in South Asia.
Bangladesh itself climbed six points up than the last year in the report that also focused on the humanitarian crises particularly in disaster and conflict situation when women and children suffer most.
Finland is the best place for a mother while Somalia is the worst, according to the report.
“Bangladesh has been consistently rising on the State of the World’s Mothers index, with dramatic cuts in maternal and child mortality,” said Michael Foley, Director of Health and Nutrition for Save the Children in Bangladesh, commenting on the report.
In last 15 years, Bangladesh has brought down maternal deaths by 60 percent and halved child deaths to become one of the few countries in the world to achieve both the MDGs – 4 and 5.
The average number of years of schooling has also increased by 3 years in those 15 years while the gross national per capita income has been doubled with the number of women MPs in the parliament.
The international NGO considered all those factors to rank a country in its mothers’ index.
Bangladesh being a climate vulnerable country faced number of cyclones, but people became resilient.
The report called upon governments to ensure that every mother and newborn living in crisis has access to high quality health care, including family planning services, and breastfeeding counselling.
It also called upon the governments to build the resilience of health systems to minimise the damaging effects of crises on health.
The report also suggested developing national and local preparedness plans tailored to respond to the specific needs of mothers, children and babies in emergencies.
It also advised to ensure adequate finance and coordination to timely respond to mothers and children’s needs in emergencies.
However, Bangladesh still has a long way to go in ending preventable child and maternal deaths.
Statistics show one out of every 24 children die before their fifth birthday, 60 percent of those within the first 28 days of life, many from conditions which could have been easily treated if they had access to a skilled health worker.
On the contrary, the government spending on healthcare has been shrinking by the year.
The budget for the health sector has fell to 4.3 percent of the total outlay in the current fiscal from 5.8 percent in 2011-2012.
“Quality (in health services) remained a challenge,” said Dr Ishtiaque Mannan, Chief of Party of USAID’s MCHIP project.
He said Bangladesh’s disaster resilience had been a “huge achievement”, so had been the maternal and child deaths reduction.