May 19, 2013 | 05:59 AM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
How are our mothers?
Md. Shairul Mashreque:
13th may was mother day. This day was globally observed with much fanfare. Bangladesh is no exception. . The participants in rallies, symposium and gathering uphold motherly love and affection with a determination to thank mothers showing utmost cancers for her health status. For, only a healthy mother can contribute to early child development with sincere care and nourishment. Nothing is dearer than affection of mother to her child.. The recent slogan that receives much articulation is ' invest in mother'. Such investment also covers expenditure on maternal health. .
Mother's state of health in terms of nutrition and care is linked to the health of the infants. 75% of the pregnant women do not receive antenatal at the time of birth (Bhattacharjee and Chakraborty 2000:1). Nutrition deficiency of mothers accounts much for malnutrition of infants.
Now the nations of the world including Bangladesh emphasize healthy pregnancy to protect the rights of both mothers and children. This can have a profound impact on mothers, children and the whole community. Expectant mothers need adequate nutrition, accessible prenatal, deliveries, obstetric and postnatal care, as well as an environment free of pollutants, exhausting labour, and extreme stress such as violence. "Investments in maternall nutrition - on protein, vitamin A and iron supplementation or fortification - yield high returns. Eliminating malnutrition among expectant mother would reduce disabilities among their infants by almost one third. For at-risk infants, early childhood care programs can help prevent disabilities" (UNICEF 2001:20).
Poor prenatal care and malnutrition during pregnancy stage are a great risk by and large resulting in low birth weight, hearing problems, learning difficulties and brain damage in children and even mortality in child and mother. Infants born to under weight and immature young mothers are more like to develop health hazards and mental/emotional problems. A study in Bangladesh showed that when a mother dies in child birth her surviving baby is 3 to 10 times more likely to die within two years than a child who is living with both parents (Ibid 2001:23). Shorting up health care for the pregnant woman of course is for protecting babies. Now, UNICEF,WHO, the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), World Bank and many others partners in human development, promote safe motherhood initiative through out the world (Ibid 2001:23).
Many developing countries are beginning to understand caring for pregnant women, mother and caring for babies. Bangladesh, for example, observers an annual Safe Mother Day. The policy makers in this country feel caring for pregnant women and anchor healthy start for early child childhood development. The government, NGOs and mass media try to organize communities to address the issue like underweight, maternal death and environmental problems preventing safety of mothers and child. They continue to conduct campaign for healthy pregnancy.
As part of its mandate for improving health of the babies and mother UNICEF has long been playing role for the reduction and for support of breastfeeding. UNICEF as such makes a distinct contribution towards family planning and population control. UNICEF policy advocacy continues to support well informed timing and spacing of birth and to address well documented disadvantages for both mother and child of birth that are 'too close or too many' to mother who are 'too young or too old.'
UNICEF has gone too far with its advocacy program for healthy pregnancies protecting the rights of both mothers and babies. UNICEF endeavors to make it clear that healthy pregnancies can have a profound impact on mothers, children and society at large. "Expectant mother require adequate nutrition and good, accessible prenatal, delivery, obstetric and post natal care, as well as an environment free of pollutants, exhausting labour and extreme stress such as conflict" (UNICEF 2001:20). Investment on maternal nutrition, on protein, vitamin A and iron supplementation or fortification yields high returns. Eliminating malnutrition among expectant mother reduces disabilities among their infants by almost one-third (Ibid 2001:20). UNICEF stresses early nutrition pregnant to help prevent malnutribution infants.
Mother's physical and emotional conditions influence their pregnancies and child development. Poor prenatal care and malnutrition in mothers result in low birth weight, hearing problems, learning difficulties, spinal bifida and brain damage in children (UNICEF 2001: 23). The 1990 World Summit for Children emphasized maternal health to children. The Cairo conference (1994) on population and Development recognized mother's health especially reproductive health. The Beijing conference (1995) on women appealed for mother's health emphasizing gender equality, child development and peace in the new millennium.
Recently policy communities at the international levels like UNICEF, WHO, WB, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and many other development partners stress shoring up care for mothers to protect child and promote safe motherhood initiative. Many among cross cultural communities understand the importance of safe motherhood. Bangladesh, for illustration, observes an annual safe mother day as a reminder for caring for pregnant women as a anchorage point for healthy starts for babies at the early childhood.
In Bangladesh public promotional agencies in health and family planning sectors as well as NGOs have been rendering safe motherhood services. This is to ensure good health for women and their babies during pregnancy, delivery and in the postpartum period (Mitu and uddin 2005:126). The organizations involved in maternal health improvement and research include among others National Institute for Population Research and Training (NIPORT), the Bangladesh Association for Prevention of Septic Abortion (BAPSA), the Bangladesh Institute for Promotion of Essential and Reproductive Health Technologies (BIRPERHT), Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Unit of Upazila Health Complex, Directorate of Family Planning, BRAC and CARE, Most of such Organizations promote maternal health improvement with financial assistance from donors. International and bilateral organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR, WB, ADB play a vital role providing policy guidelines, implementation support and infrastructural development (Ibid 2005:128).
Maternal literacy is important for child development. Educating mothers about the supports and services required for safe motherhood and for understanding health as well as reproductive health messages can eliminate harmful health practices. Fig.2 shows the indices of maternal literacy connected with child development.
Violence is a public health issue exacting a price in lives, injuries and disabilities leaving physical and psychological wounds some of which never heal (UNICEF 2001: 34). It strikes at the rights of mothers, child and adolescents. Both structural and non-structural violence leave damaging impacts on their health. Violence against mothers may be equated with violence against children injuring/even killing mothers and under mining child survival. It creates health problem and behavioral disorder on the part of child. The rights of mothers are violated by the acts of both verbal and psychical aggression at home and out of home.
Domestic violence entrenches gender-inequality, denial as well as threat to health care as a basic human right. A veritable manifestation of gender inequality is 'assertive masculine prejudice'. In
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