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Sweden, UNFPA sign US $10 million deal to support midwifery and reproductive health in Bangladesh

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Sweden on Sunday (Oct 23) launched a new partnership to support midwifery and sexual and reproductive health and rights in Bangladesh

To this effect, Sweden and UNFPA signs a new agreement worth over US $10 million, also to support UNFPA’s efforts to strengthen comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services (SRHR), including in the most remote areas affected by climate change in Bangladesh.

The new collaboration between Sweden and UNFPA for the period 2022-2026 will establish and strengthen the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh.

Currently, around 2550 midwives are deployed by the government and 300 midwives are deployed through NGOs. They serve in crises including floods, cyclones, and in refugee situations. They provide lifes avings upport and SRHR services with innovative methods such as telemedicine.

More midwives are needed to give safe and accessible care to mothers and children in Bangladesh.

Through the Swedish funding, UNFPA aimsto equip Bangladesh’s health system with competent and empowered midwives to ensure that women and girls can access the gender-transformative health care that is their right.

This care will include support to safe and wanted pregnancies and births, the prevention and response to sexual violence, as well as prevention and treatment of reproductive infections and cancers. Midwives will also ensure access to SRHR-services in the most remote and climate-affected areas.

The signing ceremony of the new project was held at the Embassy of Sweden, Dhaka in the presence of Alexandra Berg von Linde, the Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh, and Kristine Blokhus, the Representative of UNFPA in Bangladesh.

The Swedish ambassador Alexandra Berg von Linde said, “Sweden has a long history of midwifery and has supported Bangladesh midwives for over a decade. We are pleased to continue working with UNFPA and the Government of Bangladesh to further strengthening midwifery led care in the country.”

“ We hope that this new four-year project will improve the education of midwives and the quality and access to SRHR-services, to make health care environmentally resilient, and ultimately improve the health of women and children in Bangladesh.”

“The generous, long-term support we have received from the Government of Sweden over the last decade has enabled us to support the Ministry of Health of Bangladesh to develop a professional cadre of midwives educated to international standards – and to integrate these lifesaving human resources into the national health system,” said UNFPA Representative, Kristine Blokhus.

“We are deeply grateful to the Government of Sweden, which over many years has been a close ally of UNFPA in our mission to protect and improve the lives of women and girls ensuring comprehensive and lifesaving SRHR services.With this agreement, we begin a new chapter in our long partnership. Together we will continue our support to the Government of Bangladesh in ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted, and every childbirth is safe.”