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$31 million donation will help Bangladesh to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths

Dhaka, 7th June, 2007: The health and well being of mothers and newborns has received a significant boost with UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission (EC) support worth $31.2 million. The funding will support Bangladesh Government’s “Accelerating Progress towards Maternal and Neonatal Mortality and Morbidity Reduction” project, which will be jointly implemented by the Government, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed today among the three participating UN agencies (UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO). Mr. Pornchai Suchitta, UNFPA Representative a.i, Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Representative, and Dr. Khaled Hassan, Acting WHO Representative signed on behalf of their agencies. An agreement of funding was also signed between Mr. Pornchai Suchitta, UNFPA Representative a.i. and Ms. Sarah Sanyahumbi, Acting Country Representative, DFID Bangladesh on behalf of their respective organizations.
The signing took place in the Sheraton Ballroom. The Honorable Adviser, Major General (Dr.) A.S.M. Matiur Rahman (Retd), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Water Resources and Religious Affairs witnessed the signing ceremony as Chief Guest. Mr. Ehsan Ul Fattah, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, was also present at the ceremony. The representatives of DFID, the EC, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO, senior GOB officials and donor consortium members were also present.
The project begins in July 2007 and will run for five years. Initially DFID and the EC will provide $8.3 million to implement the project in 4 districts and eventually it will be implemented in 20 districts.
Though Bangladesh has made significant progress towards the improvement of both child and maternal survival, formidable challenges still remain, particularly in implementing effective and efficacious interventions at a national level.
Maternal mortality and neonatal mortality, estimated to be 320 per 100,000 and 41 per 1000 live births, respectively, are still unacceptably high. With the progress that the country has made in reducing mortality and morbidity from infectious causes, neonatal mortality now accounts for over 66% of overall infant deaths.
The goal of this project is to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in Bangladesh with an emphasis on addressing the equity issues to achieve MDGs 4 and 5. The purpose of the project is to improve community Maternal and Neo-natal Health (MNH) practices and the utilization of quality MNH services, particularly among the poor and the vulnerable.
The Government of Bangladesh has reiterated its commitment to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. UN agencies, DFID and the EC are all committed to supporting the Government in achieving the MDGs.

For more information contact: Dr. Shakil Ahmed ( UNFPA Bangladesh.



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