Bangladesh: hard to reach and helpless
Trudging knee-deep through water and mud, tentatively crossing the second paddy field we needed to get through to reach a baby born in a Save the Children-supported health clinic, I really was gaining first-hand experience into what living in a ‘hard-to-reach’ community really entails.
The landscape in Habiganj, Bangladesh, is beautiful, with very lush, green paddy fields lined with palm trees that go on for acres and acres.
Farmhouses sit on top of mounds of earth to avoid flooding when the monsoon hits and the whole area transforms from abundant rice fields to a vast lake and houses become accessible only by boat.
Meeting Panna and Sriti
When we finally reached the mother and child we came to see, we were greeted by the happy sight of Panna, a healthy mother, and her six-month-old baby Sriti.
Panna was one of the first mothers to deliver in the newly renovated Save the Children Family Welfare Clinic in Shibpasa, located about a mile from her home.
Previously, she had to travel a long distance to the nearest hospital to give birth.
Two of her four children died in childbirth because getting to the clinic was a difficult journey and she wasn’t able to access the care she and her babies needed in time.
The isolation from healthcare services that Panna experienced before the Shibpasa clinic was renovated near her home is echoed throughout rural areas in Bangladesh.
Every hour 11 babies die before they are four weeks old and in Ajmiriganj, where Panna lives, one baby dies every day.
In communities that aren’t as fortunate as Panna’s and have no properly functioning health clinic nearby, it is said nine out of every ten women will go through the heartbreaking experience of losing a baby.
Build it for Babies
Through our Build it for Babies appeal, Save the Children is funding the building of four family welfare health clinics in hard-to-reach communities like this and will be working alongside the Bangladesh government to ensure the clinics are sustainable and supported in the future.
The clinics will be fully equipped and staffed by well-trained,professional health workers providing medical services to over 150,000 people every year.
By supporting these clinics we will be able to ensure 3,500 more newborn babies each year receive the care they need to survive the first month of their life and reduce the number of families who have to endure the trauma of losing a baby at birth.