Midwifery in Bangladesh: Its Role in Reducing Maternal Mortality and the Reasons Behind its Underutilization
Choudhury, Anjum Noor
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The improvement of maternal health is one of Bangladesh’s primary development concerns. Despite a decline in the maternal mortality ratio in the past decade, the maternal mortality ratio still remains high at 170 deaths per 100 000 births as of 2013 . Since the initiation of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, the Bangladeshi government has taken measures to train more obstetricians and midwives. Utilization of the increasing volume of maternal health care services, however, has been low. This study examines the factors that affect the choice in birth attendant (skilled or untrained) during delivery. Using survey data collected by the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) program, it concludes that Bangladeshi women are more likely to seek the assistance of midwives than that of doctors for the delivery of their children. This choice is largely influenced by socio-economic status and education levels, implying that simply increasing the supply of professional maternal health care services will not lead to increased utilization of services. Further increases in utilization of these services require improvements in overall economic development in Bangladesh.