Salma, 18, lives with her husband, Masud in Bangladesh. Early in her pregnancy with her first child, Salma experienced abdominal pain, couldn’t eat and was very sick.
Frightened by some of the villagers’ stories that the baby could be abnormal, Salma sought care from the village’s elderly traditional birth attendant, but she did not feel comforted.
When she was six months pregnant, Salma heard about a rural midwife called Pronoti; she also heard that women who delivered under Pronoti’s care did not end up with a prolapsed uterus nor did their infants die within the first week of life from pneumonia or birth asphyxia (lack of oxygen during the delivery).
Trained by Caritas Bangladesh's Safe Motherhood Project (SMP) which is supported by Caritas Australia, Pronoti conducts comprehensive antenatal and postnatal care; carries out deliveries, and refers women to hospital if needed.
During her first antenatal check-up, Salma was advised to drink more fluid and increase her food.
“These words surprised me, as we were always told to eat less during pregnancy so we would not have a big baby. Her words reassured me.”
When Salma did go into labour, she felt at peace just knowing Pronoti was there. “I felt amazed that my baby was so healthy and that I had given birth without any problems.”
Sister Julienne Hayes-Smith, SMP Coordinator, said that people tell her the number of maternal deaths has greatly decreased, while Pronoti enjoys making women’s lives better.
“I would like to thank the people of Australia. We are poor, but we want women and babies to have good lives, like in your country.”
I would like to thank the people of Australia. We are poor, but we want women and babies to have good lives, like in your country.”Pronti, a midwife of the Safe Motherhood Project
About the program
The Safe Motherhood program is designed to provide healthcare and health education to women and children in the Pallabi, Mirpur District of Dhaka. The program trains rural midwives to provide quality antenatal, delivery and postnatal care for women in rural areas, with the aim or reducing the rate of maternal and infant mortality and increasing extended families’ participation in maternal and infant care. Read more about the program »