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Community-based skilled birth attendants in Bangladesh: attending deliveries at home

, : Community-based skilled birth attendants in Bangladesh: attending deliveries at home. Reproductive Health Matters 17(33): 45-50

Only 15% of births in Bangladesh in 2007 were delivered at health facilities, but the increase over previous years has been significant, and treatment-seeking from a medically trained provider for obstetric complications has also increased. A programme to create a cadre of skilled birth attendants for home births was launched by the Government of Bangladesh in 2004. The training, for community-based health and family planning fieldworkers, covers 74 essential midwifery skills and danger signs for referral. Training of trainers and supervisors for the fieldworkers was also initiated. By the end of 2008 an estimated 4,000 out of a proposed 13,500 skilled birth attendants and 50 of 4,000 proposed supervisors had been trained and were working in 56 districts. There needs to be a full evaluation of the programme and whether it has reduced maternal deaths. Bangladesh now needs to decide how long to invest in this programme and/or whether to train a new cadre of fully qualified midwives, as proposed by the Nursing Council. We believe this programme can only be an interim measure, not a long-term solution, as more women decide to seek institutional delivery and professional midwifery care. For the moment, though, task-shifting seems to have yielded beneficial results and important insights into human resources planning for safe motherhood in Bangladesh.


PMID: 19523581

DOI: 10.1016/S0968-8080(09)33446-1

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