Urgent call to address the shortage of midwives in Bangladesh

Bangladesh loses over 4,000 women every year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth[1]. The maternal mortality rate is falling, but at 156 deaths per 100,000 births[2], it is still a long way from the Sustainable Development Goal target of 70. Most of these deaths occur in poorer families and communities, although everyone, even the rich or famous, can lose someone in childbirth.  For instance, in March 2024, a national women’s football star sadly died after giving birth at home in Bangladesh without the support of a midwife[3]. These tragic deaths highlight the critical shortage of midwives in Bangladesh, undermining the health of women and their babies.
Midwives only entered the workforce in Bangladesh in 2018 but a new study by Johns Hopkins University has shown that they have already saved hundreds of lives in Bangladesh and could save thousands more, if policy makers committed to significant investment in midwifery. Efforts to reduce maternal deaths through the provision of high-quality midwifery care must therefore be scaled up and accelerated.
Although midwives, where deployed, now conduct a staggering 78% of all normal births in Bangladesh, there remain many health facilities where midwifery care is not available, especially at Union level, where services are accessible to the majority of women and their families.  Moreover, many midwives face challenges in working to their full scope of practice even though evidence shows that midwives can provide almost 90% of essential sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health (SRMNAH) services. Midwives are independent professionals, expert in providing sexual and reproductive health services and in responding to the impact of climate change on health in Bangladesh, but many people confuse them with nurses, thus limiting their recognition, and curtailing the support and resources they need to save lives. A 2022 survey conducted by the Bangladesh Midwifery Society showed that many local authorities did not have a clear understanding of the midwifery profession and held misconceptions about midwives' competencies, leading to ambiguity about their role.
We call upon the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) to deploy midwives with the utmost urgency, to improve access to midwifery services and, in doing so, to save lives. Specifically, we recommend that the MOHFW immediately implements the directive, as indicated in the 2022 circular from the Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery (DGNM), to employ 401 midwives. We suggest that Government (DGNM) provides midwife mentors for students in clinical settings.
We also call upon the Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery (DGNM), Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) to raise awareness about the midwifery Scope of Practice (SOP) in public and private health facilities to ensure autonomous midwifery practice.
Furthermore, we urge the Government and other key midwifery stakeholders to work with the Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS), the professional association and collective voice for midwives in Bangladesh, which has over 6,000 members across the country and can work to ensure that midwives receive the support and ongoing education needed to provide high quality care.
Midwives are first responders when climate disasters strike. Bangladesh is one of the countries in the world that is experiencing the devastating effects of climate change, with excessive heat and flooding affecting a large and growing proportion of the population, and posing significant health risks, especially to vulnerable groups such as pregnant women. As we celebrate International Day of the Midwife (IDM) under the theme; Midwives: A Vital Climate Solution, we urge government to immediately deploy more midwives, create an enabling environment and empower them to work to their full scope of practice. This will strengthen primary health care systems and provide a pathway to Universal Health Coverage. By investing in midwives, we can save lives and ensure that every woman and newborn has access to the quality care they deserve.

Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS)

Website: https://bmsone.com/

Address: House 4, Road-10, Sector-10, Uttara, Dhaka-1230

                                                                                                                                            Email: bmspresident.bd@gmail.com

[1] UNFPA/Government of Bangladesh (2023) Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) in Bangladesh

[2] Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (2024) Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics 2023: Key Findings

[3] SAFF-winning footballer Razia dies after childbirth https://www.daily-bangladesh.com/english/sports/92905

Vaginal birth after caesarean section

Title of the story: Vaginal birth after caesarean section


Midwives contact info

 Name: Nusrat Feeha

work place: MSF Kutupalong ,coxbazar




Motherhood is a heavenly sensation! Every girl wants to be a mother and enjoy the taste of it. Some women deliver baby normally and some through caesarean operation.



Sometimes mothers have to go through cesarean operation due to some problems related to the womb but most of the mothers don't want it. We met a mother on 22-Jul-2023, whose first child was delivered by caesarean section and this time she wants to have a normal delivery. She came with a strong desire. But in our country, we don't want to take such a risk easily, because of the previous suture may burst, resulting in major damage to the mother and child. Then with a bit of courage, our whole team took the risk, previous operation LUCS (lower uterine caesarian segment) and placental position posterioris facundus, there is no pain at the place of stitching, so the chances of uterine rupture and placental retention are less.


Finally, we had Completed VBAC (Vaginal birth after caesarian), both mother and baby were healthy.

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Cannot share the stories anywhere without approval of the authority of BMS


Seamless midwifery services for women

Title of the story: Seamless midwifery services for women



Name of the midwife: Tania Tabassum

Work place: Akhaura Upazila health complex, B- bariya


Eid-ul-fitr and Eid-ul-adha are two most auspicious occasions for the Muslims.  During Eid everyone go for Eid vacation, instead of few health workers who remains on duty to provide services to the patients at the hospitals. During the Eid-ul-adha on 10 July 2022 when most of the people went for Eid vacation I was also on duty. I was living at the hospital dormitories far apart from my family and relatives. I was feeling lonely and deprived.


Then in the fine morning, a pregnant women arrived to me for delivery. I had conducted an active management of third stage of labour. After delivery I had ensured skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the newborn and helped the woman breastfeed the newborn. Both the mother and the newborn were doing well.


Right after the delivery, I instantly felt a sense of accomplishment and joy. All my regrets disappeared at that moment when I delivered the baby boy. The special day of Eid turn into more special to me. I realized the importance of being on duty even on special occasions to support pregnant women. I thanked the all-mighty ALLAH for giving me the opportunity to help the mother and the newborn. On the spot, I had committed that, I am midwife, I will always be with pregnant women no matter what is happening. My pleasure to remain with women.


Copy right © Bangladesh Midwifery Society (BMS)

Cannot share the stories anywhere without approval of the authority of BMS