Grameen Safe Motherhood and Infant Care Project

Photo by Pathfinder Bangladesh

With funding and support from Grameenphone, Pathfinder worked to increase access for the poorest of the poor to services such as antenatal care, safe delivery, emergency obstetric care, postnatal care, and immunizations. More than 460,000 poorest of the poor were served through the clinics.

In 2007, Pathfinder began work on the Grameenphone Safe Motherhood and Infant Care Project, continuing Pathfinder's commitment to providing quality reproductive health services in Bangladesh that began in the early 1950s. The project was an extension of Pathfinder's work under the NGO Service Delivery Program (NSDP). From 2002 to 2007, Pathfinder led NSDP to enhance the quality of essential services provided by NGOs at the clinic and community level.

Pathfinder's success in partnering with 35 NGOs and ensuring 318 Smiling Sun clinics provided a range of essential health services led to interest from Grameenphone in implementing a follow-on project. Grameenphone is Bangladesh's largest telecommunications service provider and a significant corporate sponsor of health care, especially for the poor, in Bangladesh. The Grameenphone Safe Motherhood and Infant Care Project was the largest corporate social responsibility initiative in the health sector by an individual company in Bangladesh.

The project worked with 30 local NGOs, 319 Smiling Sun Clinics, and 8,000 satellite clinics and focused on reducing maternal and infant deaths and illnesses of the poorest of the poor as well as enhancing accessibility to and awareness of services. While the Smiling Sun clinics offer quality health services at subsidized prices, the poorest of the poor still cannot afford them. In 2004, 18.7 percent of Bangladesh households qualified as poorest of the poor. That translates to roughly 80,485 families in the coastal belt of Smiling Sun catchment areas.

With the help of Grameenphone, Pathfinder worked to increase access for the poorest of the poor to services such as antenatal care, safe delivery, emergency obstetric care, postnatal care, and immunizations by providing full financial support for safe motherhood and child care services. One hundred percent of the poorest pregnant women and infants in the coastal belt and 50 percent in the other NGOs had access to these free services throughout the year. More than 460,000 poorest of the poor were served through the clinics. More than 16,500 mothers received antenatal care services and more than 13,000 infants received care.

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