Salma’s story

10 Dec 19

Salma lives with her husband, Masud, in the rural community of Gazipur, two hours from Bangladesh’s bustling capital.

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Photo credit: Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Caritas Australia

She was just 18 years old, pregnant and fearful for her life and that of her unborn child, when she featured in Project Compassion 2013.

In Bangladesh, maternal and infant mortality rates are still tragically high. During her first pregnancy, Salma was very sick, she experienced abdominal pain and couldn’t eat. She sought the help of a midwife called Pronoti, trained by Caritas Australia’s Safe Motherhood Program.

Pronoti helped Salma safely through two pregnancies, thanks to her comprehensive training in midwifery, antenatal and postnatal care.

The program has reduced maternal and infant mortality in the area by almost 70 percent. Over 400 women have been trained in midwifery since 2008 – and they have given over 28,000 women antenatal checkups and delivered more than 15,000 babies.

Now 24, Salma smiles as she watches her one-year-old boy and six-year-old daughter play together. She is pleased that they are growing up strong and can focus on their hopes for the future.

“If the Safe Motherhood Program had not trained midwives like Pronoti, many of us would have to go to the private clinics 11 kilometres away.Some of us women and our babies might die because of that.”

“We are poor and so it is easy to get discouraged about the future. However, if we have hope, we have the courage to try and do things that seem difficult or impossible at the time.”