In the poverty-stricken part of the world more and more women either die or are rendered diseased, even disabled due to problems related to maternal health, mainly because they are deprived of being the key decision-maker in matters linked to their reproductive and sexual health. Pregnancy, childbirth and
post-patron period become a threat for women, especially for young girls, who, before the onset of the adulthood, enter marital relationships and become premature mothers
(see child marriage).
Lack of basic hygiene, gender based violence (see violence against women), combined with associated effects of poverty (malnutrition, poor health…) only contributes to the misery of women and paves the way for infections.
In particular, women’s status, in given societies, is shaped by different social and political factors, which determine their
behavior and prevent them to decide on their personal sexual matters. For example, birth of many children seen as a drain of resources and son preferences in family structure compel women against their will to take up as many pregnancies as possible to raise the possibility of having a male child as well as the lack of awareness about contraception and the difficult access to quality health care take a toll on women welfare and smooth the way for the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Bangladesh has a grave scenario regarding maternal mortality.
- Every year round 11,000-12,000 women are dying due to pregnancy complications.
- Maternal mortality ratio stands at 320 deaths per 100,000 live births.
- Adolescent motherhood lies at one of the world’s highest.
- One in every three teenager girls has already entered motherhood while another 5% are on their way to have their first new-born.
In Bangladesh strong cultural and traditional ties deter women from delivering their child at health
centers or from seeking assistance of medically trained attendants. Women’s low status in society, poor quality of maternal care services, and poor quality of services, all contribute to the high rate of maternal deaths.
Terminologically International Institutions such as International Health Organization define a child as a young person below five years old and child mortality as the decease of a child before the fifth birthday.
Emotionally the loss of a child is a tragic encounter, and a source of inconsolable sorrow on the part of the family.
Children belong to the new generation and consequently are the builder of the future.
Accordingly child and mortality are antithetic and should not be associated with each other.
Child mortality is one of the direct ill-consequences of poverty, which is taking a toll on the lives of innocent children. Disadvantaged families are unlikely to have access to safe water, proper sanitation, or adequate diets. These factors greatly increase the risk of contracting disease. In this context once an infant is sick, it is predicted to die because impoverished families can’t afford prenatal care or lifesaving and medical services.
The current plagues could be avoided or treated if necessary simply measures were undertaken and the means set up, such as antibiotics for treating pneumonia or oral re-hydration salts for diarrhea. Malnutrition contributes to over half of these deaths.
Statistics show that a child is more vulnerable within its five first years of life and therefore more likely to die. Infants particularly face a lot of difficulties, and in developing countries, have to struggle against their daily life fraught with threats and perils. Poverty is the cause and the consequence of everything: because of poverty families do not have access to proper health services in order to treat their child, and on the other hand death resulting from poverty strikes the families and impoverish them psychologically and socially
Data for better understanding
- A staggering rate of 11 million children under the age of five dies every year around the world.
- 70% of the child mortality is attributable to six causes: pneumonia, diarrhea/dehydration, malaria, neo-natal infection, pre-term delivery or lack of oxygen at birth mostly repartitioned within Sub-Saharan African countries.
- Malnutrition and lack of sanitation have an important part of responsibility in the degradation of the children health status.
- HIV/AIDS is responsible for 10% of child and infant deaths in developing countries. However Pneumonia currently took the leadership.
Advances in infant and child survival have come more slowly. The improvement in public health services is one key, including safe water and better sanitation. Nevertheless Education and awareness (basic health care, hygiene, safe water, breastfeeding…) especially for girls and mothers will make the difference and save children's lives.
Child mortality, the challenge of Bangladesh
In Bangladesh mostly 100,000 children die every year of pneumonia (lung inflammation), about 20% of the children population. The ailment is largely preventable and the treatments are available but the bacterial become more and more resistant which makes the battle more difficult, anyway the antibiotics are costly, hence the cure often delayed.
In fact a vaccination exists but is not available in Bangladesh. The purchase of vaccine is planned in Bangladesh plan of action, however it is not a priority of the government and the “Market for life savings vaccines” is still really expensive for such a country.
Beside Pneumonia, a new fellow took the leadership of the child killing in Bangladesh. Currently the largest portion of child mortality is attributed to drowning causing 17000 deaths per year according to new research in Bangladesh (28% of the child population). During the raining season Bangladesh is easily submerged and the housing flooded. Drowning daily threatens children as the country offers a propitious field for such dangers.
Child death from drowning is not widely recognized and the lack of awareness raising campaign, the absence of programmes teaching adults how to respond in case of an emergency situation only contribute to more death of children.
Apart from child mortality, the death of newborn in neonatal and post-neonatal death places Bangladesh at fifth among 10 highest newborn death-prone countries which accounts for 153 000 death every year, out of this number,
PEACE Foundation intervention:
As a matter of fact Education remains a problem in all these types of preventable diseases. It has already been proved that Education and awareness can save lives. As an example a mother with at least a secondary school education may be better off socio-economically and consequently have less exposure to disease-causing agents. The awareness on basic health issues, hygiene, and emergency cares may have consequences on the child health status. Education is also a means to tackle the preference given to a boy child than to a girl. Indeed the preference of treatment discriminated the girl is still visible in Bangladesh, because of the ancestral vision of the boy and girl, boy considered as wealth and girl as burden.
§ Establishment of a hospital in the rural area
§ Basic education on sanitation, health and nutrition and new born care
§ Accompanying future mother during the pregnancy
§ Ensuring family safe environment
§ Protecting children against violence and mistreatment