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Today on 5 May 2022, UNFPA marked International Day of the Midwife in Bangladesh by hosting an event titled “"A 10-Year Journey of Midwifery in Bangladesh" in collaboration with the Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery (DGNM) and Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS). The event was held at the Auditorium of DGNM in Dhaka and its purpose was to highlight the immense contributions midwives have made to the betterment of maternal health in Bangladesh since the profession was introduced into the national health system a decade ago.

The Honourable Additional Secretary of the Medical Education and Family Welfare Division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Nitish Chandra Sarkar, participated in the event as Chief Guest and the event was chaired by the Director General of the Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery, Siddika Akter. UNFPA’s Chief of Health, Dr. Vibhavendra Raghuyamshi participated in a panel discussion held at the event alongside representatives of the relevant Government Directorates and the key donor countries to the National Midwifery Programme in Bangladesh, namely Sweden, the United Kingdom and Canada. 

In addition, almost a hundred midwives from around the country participated in the festivities. The midwives performed midwifery-themed songs and shared their experiences of serving in some of the most vulnerable communities across the country.

In his remarks, the Honourable Additional Secretary highlighted the effective manner in which midwives have been integrated into the health system in Bangladesh in just a decade: “The DGNM has made great strides in the field of midwifery education and services. We included midwifery in job orientation and other service trainings and 15 nursing institutes were transformed into nursing and midwifery colleages.”

In her statement, Director General Siddika Akter thanked UNFPA for the critical support it has provided to DGNM over the last ten years. She also reasserted the Government’s commitment to deploy 5,000 additional midwives in the near future and encouraged the midwives present to continue improving their skills. “While we celebrate each and every one of you today for the dedication you have shown particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should not stop here. Try to gain a higher education so midwives in Bangladesh can compete on a global scale,” she stated.

Moreover, UNFPA’s Chief of Health, Dr. Vibhavendra Raghuyamshi praised the reduction in maternal mortalities that Bangladesh has achieved since midwives were introduced into the country. “Midwifery is a profession that is changing the destiny of Bangladesh. Just over a decade ago, over 300 women per 100,000 live births were dying in Bangladesh, while today the same figure is around 170. This kind of reduction in a matter of one or two decades is remarkable,” he stated.