Mothers’ Assemblies: a new way to engage with vulnerable pregnant women

MA news piece

Over the years, CLP has generated plenty of evidence to show that extreme-poor families we’ve supported on the chars are, in most case, making economic progress and that female core participants are becoming empowered.

However, according to the World Bank, ‘Economic progress and greater investment in human capital of women will not necessarily translate into better reproductive outcomes if women lack access to reproductive health services. It is thus important to ensure that health systems provide a basic package of reproductive health services, including family planning[1].’

We’ve been doing our part to try and increase access to reproductive health services on the chars. The Programme has tried to address the problem from different angles.

One of our more recent initiatives has been so-called ‘mothers’ assemblies’ for pregnant women or those with young children. Since November 2015, 328 women (mostly from our core households) have attended six assemblies which have aimed to make women more aware about antenatal and post-natal care, how to increase chances of a safe delivery, and understand what the danger signs are during pregnancy. The assemblies also allowed CLP staff to identify women in need of additional support and in need of referral services to NGO and government health facilities.

Women who attended the assemblies were offered a range of important services, inputs and messages. To convey messages such as the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and what supplements to take, different media were used. For example videos were shown explaining the different stages of pregnancy and how to care for new born babies.

Recognising that our interventions cannot go on beyond March 2016, our Partnership’s Director has also been working hard to attract additional resources to the chars. The following articles illustrate just some of the notable successes, particularly in the areas of health and reproductive health:

[1] The World Bank, April 2011, Reproductive Health at a Glance, Bangladesh, available on www.worldbank.org/population