Synergies in Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Bangladesh, January 2007
Following the successful national consultation meeting held in India in 2006, The White Ribbon Alliance Bangladesh (WRAB) organized a national consultation meeting on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). This meeting, which took place in January 2007 in Dhaka, was supported by The Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health. It had as its main objectives:
- To share information about the landscape of current MNCH efforts in Bangladesh in relation to utilization of services, equity and human resources
- To identify opportunities for synergies between these priorities for possible partnership building
- To identify opportunities and mechanisms for public-private partnership
- To reinforce commitment towards a united effort towards improving the maternal and child health scenario in Bangladesh
The consultation, which gathered over 100 participants, was divided into five sessions. The first session was an introductory one. During this sitting, Bangladeshi Director General for Health Services, Global White Ribbon Alliance, WRAB, Concern Bangladesh, DFID, USAID, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO presented their focus areas, and programmes as well as objectives and plans.
The second session centred on the usage of MNCH services. During this meeting Iqbal Anwar from ICDDRB presented on inequalities in maternal health services. Then, Dr. Hakim from the Family Planning division of the government of Bangladesh reviewed trends in MNCH services. Subsequently, Dr. Meena from the NGO Service Delivery Programme (NSDP) presented the activities of programme's 33 national NGOs. Finally, Dr. Rasul from Concern, reviewed the organisation's community level initiatives for maternal and child survival. The strategy used consists in involving the community in seeking health and nutritional services.
The third session focused in equity of MNCH services. The meeting started with Dr. Hossain of CARE, who shared his statistic and program experiences to address inequities in maternal and newborn health. After that, Dr. Barkat from the Department of Economics at the University of Dhaka presented the findings from a research study entitled increasing access to maternal health services for poor women in rural Bangladesh. Lastly Dr. Afsana from BRAC presented: Strengthening the health systems for child health for over 35 years. The presentation covered BRAC coverage areas and programme outcomes. It also outlines some key challenges faced.
The fourth session spotlighted human resource issues and quality of care for MNCH services. It was opened with Dr. Alim, Director General of Health Services, who centred his presentation on the challenges faced in human resources for MNCH and on the various government programmes and strategies that address said challenges. In second, Dr. Mridha of ICDDRB focused on the global comparative review of human resources for health with a particular focus on the Asia region. The meeting was closed with Dr. Saha from Concern who examined equity issues and their effects on MNCH.
Each of these sessions was followed by panel discussions.
During the closing session, the Adviser for the Ministry on Women and Child Affairs of Bangladesh, Honourable Yasmin Morshed, signed the White Ribbon Alliance Oath. The consultation then came to a close with:
- A declaration signed by all partners
- The launch of the first WRA Bangladesh newsletter
- The launch of the new WRAB website
- The commitment of the Caretaker Adviser to improve Women and Child Ministry responses.