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A social autopsy of a maternal deaths explored social dilemmas in the community: Findings during DFATD visits in Moulvibazar District.

25 October 2015: A tragic story of a mother aged 22 years in her 2nd pregnancy died when she was in 28 weeks of pregnancy period. DFATD team (Canadian CIDA) with developmental partners UNICEF and UNFPA jointly visited the village and participated in a social autopsy (SA) meeting. The SA was aimed to exploring the social errors and dilemmas in the society behind the maternal deaths and also find out the future solutions set up by the community to rectify. SA findings identified that the mother was only 28 kg weight, severely malnourished and shunted growth. The mother was also hide her pregnancy and continued work in the tea garden. Suddenly she felt labour pain at around 9 pm at night and labour took place spontaneously in the toilet. Immediately after knowing the fact happened her husband informed village doctor, local Dai and also midwife. Unable to handle the mother due to unconsciousness, it was decided to take the mother to referral facility. Unfortunately the mother was died on the road.

Midwife Teagarden

The midwife of the tea garden area stated- “The mother concealed her pregnancy, informed at the last minutes. She took antenatal care once and did not interested to meet the nurse or doctor. The mother was also malnourished, she did not take care of her anytime and family did not have any idea of her pregnancy”

During discussing the catastrophic event, the union Chairman of the Union Parisad mentioned – “Our community is still not ready to handle with such event, we have a number of social barriers including we are not aware of maternal care and taking decision at right time. This meeting is a lesson learnt to us, I am committed to support my community in future by learning the information”.

Around 50 participants in community near to the deceased household participated in the session. The assistant health inspector from the health department of the upazila facilitated the session. He discussed on maternal complications and what necessary things to be done if there are any complications arise. Moreover, the assistant health inspector also described about birth planning for the safe delivery of the mother and newborn.

Joseph Sebhatu, First Secretary (development), DFATD and other officials from DFTAD including UNICEF and UNFPA officials participated in the session. Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh CIPRB provided all technical and implementing support to the government (DGHS and DGFP) to implement maternal and perianal death review (MPDR) in Bangladesh, Social autopsy is one of the key intervention in MPDR.

Case study was written by Dr Animesh Biswas on 28 October 2015


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