The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is the number of women, who die from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes) during pregnancy and childbirth or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, per 100,000 live births. Achieving the 5th Millennium Development Goal by reducing maternal mortality and morbidity remains a great challenge for many low-resourced countries, particularly in South Asia. Bangladesh has shown a great success in MMR over the last decade. Maternal mortality declined from 322 in 2001 to 194 in 2010, a 40% decline in 9 years. Therefore, Bangladesh appeared to be on track to achieving the primary target of MDG 5. Bangladesh should quickly catch up with respect to indicator 17 in MDG 5 – increase the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel from 5% to 50% by 2015. This goal, in general, has thrown up some steep hurdles, because it is inextricably linked with complex social and economic factors related to health beliefs and practices, education and poverty. The population is relatively young, with 32% of people aged between 10 and 24 years. This makes the challenge of maintaining the MMR reduction harder, particularly given the widespread practice of early marriage.
To advance and to promote the health and well-being of all mother and children through the unique application of research, Eminence works to improve knowledge, effective service delivery and to influence health sector governance (especially in primary and maternal health services) in Bangladesh. In close collaboration with several donor agencies and INGOs, Eminence has dedicated its capability to reduce neonatal and infant mortality and secure nutrition of children.
Eminence is implementing an operational research titled ‘Improving the IYCF through Strengthening the Capacity of Community Volunteers and Traditional Birth Attendants,’ in three upazilas of Panchagarh District, about 560 km north of Dhaka, one of the most impoverished districts in the country. Alive & Thrive (A&T) awarded grants to eight recipients for the first round of its Small Grants Program and Eminence received grants for Assessing the cost and effectiveness of training and supervision of frontline workers on early breastfeeding practices. Nearly half a million people live in the three upazilas to be studied: a control area, a training area, and a training + supervision area. Selected upazilas include: Boda – the control area, Debiganj – has been provided with only training to TBAs, and Atwari – has received both training and follow up supervision.