Imagine you’re an expecting mother in Bangladesh. The COVID-19 pandemic has reached your community. You’re under a strict lockdown. Health centers, which were already few and far between, are either closing or shifting resources to handle coronavirus patients. And go you into labor.
This is the reality for many pregnant women who are giving birth in this pandemic.
Luckily, there’s Shilpy.
Shilpy is a skilled birth attendant at a community health center — one of the few open right now in her area. Despite the lockdown, and all the fear and anxiety that the pandemic has created, Shilpy is still at work. Every day.
And thanks to her, 12 healthy babies have been delivered since the start of the lockdown in Bangladesh.
“Providing delivery services is noble work,” says Shilpy. “When a pregnant woman comes to the center in labor, nothing will stop me from helping her give birth. My only target is to save the mother and the baby. My heart fills with joy when a mother returns home with a healthy baby.”
One new mother says: “I am very glad to give birth at this health center free of charge. Most of the private clinics are now closed in the town. But this one is exceptional and provides health services around the clock, even during the lockdown.”
Shilpy is braving the COVID-19 health risks to make sure new moms and newborn babies are receiving the care they need. Plan International has provided protective equipment, including masks, gloves, goggles and suits, for Shilpy and her team, along with other health centers in Bangladesh. So she’s now confident that she’s providing a safe service — something for which her patients are grateful.
Shilpy is an inspiration, but the broader reality in Bangladesh is grim. Even before the pandemic, it was a risky place to give birth. Though there are around 400 births every hour, there aren’t enough skilled birth attendants in the country. Many women go into labor on their own, without medical support.
And when you’re born in Bangladesh, if you manage to arrive safely into this world, it’s likely that you will face enormous challenges as a child. Some of the biggest issues affecting children’s development are malnutrition, poor hygiene practices, low quality education and lack of safety. These are all much worse if you’re a girl. On top of that, Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries.
And, now there’s COVID-19.
Shilpy is a hero every day, whether or not there’s a pandemic. She’s saving lives and giving babies the best start in life she can. But it takes a village.
You can sponsor a child in Bangladesh and help them reach their full potential. There are so many children waiting for someone like you. Children like Rozika, Nuha and Forhat. Now more than ever, your support for the vulnerable girls and children around the world is desperately needed.