HI: Defying Traditions to Save Lives 4:00, 2018 (Ref: AS18863)


In Bangladesh, people are defying traditions to save lives during child birth. Many babies & mothers die unnecessarily while giving birth because of local traditions.

Strong cultural and traditional ties often deter women from giving birth in health centres and hospitals. In the hospital that we filmed in in Matlab, in south-eastern Bangladesh many mother’s babies have died unnecessarily because the mothers did not attend antenatal check-ups.

Staff at the clinic are targeting men and trying to convince them of the importance of their wives’ having antenatal check-ups and giving birth with trained professionals present. In this traditional Muslim society, the key to getting a woman to go to hospital is often to persuade her husband.

We spent some time in Matlab with Sufiar – a nurse – who has dedicated her life to persuading pregnant women to attend ante natal clinics. But it is an uphill struggle. We filmed with her as she met with Asma – who was having her second baby. Asma was nearly two weeks overdue. Sufia wants Asma to go to hospital, where she could be induced or have a ceaserean – which might save both their lives. Asma is reluctant to do so. Watch the film to fin out what happened.

Traditionally women in Bangladesh give birth at home. Hospitals and clinics are portrayed as frightening places they do not want to go to. The consequence of this avoidance can be devastating.