Building capacity of the Parliamentarians to counter high maternal mortality rate and providing Parliamentarians with expert resources in Maternal Health for effective strategies and interventions
PARTNER: Ishtiaq Mannan, Chief of Party (MCHIP), Save the Children
AREA OF EXPERTISE: Maternal Health & Public Policy
Bangladesh ranks 129/ 189 globally on the metric of maternal mortality rate as per the modelled estimate of the World Bank Open Data. Despite achieving progress in the past decade, Bangladesh grapples with numerous structural and cultural barriers that include delays in implementation of policies at community level, culture of absenteeism amongst practitioners, lack of awareness on health benefits under social safety net program etc. Gaps exist in the implementation of policy documents, upgradation of proper infrastructure and systematic health governance. Further the culture of absenteeism among medical practitioners and lack of health coverage deter fostered growth and progress in improving the maternal health condition in the country.
While there was significant administrative support being provided by larger organizations such as the World Bank, Swaniti wanted to pursue it’s insights on political economy. Specifically, to understand the capacity of MPs on maternal Health, we conducted structured interviewed with 20+ MPs. We observed that although the MPs had an in-depth knowledge of the on-ground challenges in their respective constituencies, they had limited knowledge and resources to identify the drivers and interventions to mitigate the problem. To bridge this knowledge gap and provide pointed insights to Parliamentarians on maternal health, we organized a Roundtable in partnership with the Bangladesh Parliament Club. The objective was 3 fold:
1. To initiate a discourse with MPs on the sustainable solutions for maternal Health – especially who are not part of the respective standing committee
2. To provide them the access to the best practices and resources available in Bangladesh for their assistance
3. Develop a network of MPs who will serve to advocate on effective solutions to the government and the public.
We broke down the Roundtable into 3 core elements:
1. Expert insight- We partnered with a large NGO to bring on board an expert who spoke on successful stories, the good practices and the policy approaches for good governance.
2. Swaniti Team shared their experience of identifying and implementing solutions in other geographies.
3. Each Parliamentarian shared his/ her on ground challenges and experiences with the Expert and Swaniti Team to brainstorm possible solutions.
The piloting of the Roundtables in Bangladesh provided insights on the challenges MPs face when monitoring the implementation of the policy and when driving initiatives in the constituencies.