Bangladesh stands proudly as an example in the field of public health – between 1990 and 2015, we have decreased childhood and maternal mortality by two-thirds. And the primary credit for this monumental success goes to our women community health workers. Their selfless and relentless dedication towards helping every child born in this country is what made it possible for Bangladesh to achieve all the health-related Millennium Development Goals well ahead of time.
And that is why every year, the Child Health Research Foundation dedicates 08 March, International Women’s Day, to the community and village health workers of Bangladesh.
These workers form the crux of our organization. It is with 136 workers in our field site (123 women and 13 men) that we walk our path towards preventing infections and saving lives of Bangladeshi children. From collecting data on prevalent infections to referring sick children in rural communities to hospitals to ensuring every child is vaccinated – the roles of our workers are never-ending.
Yesterday, on 08 March 2020, to ensure recognition celebrate the courage and hard work of these “ordinary” women, who have played extraordinary roles in our communities, CHRF organized a rally in Mirzapur, Tangail, of Bangladesh. About 300 members of CHRF and their families joined this rally, which ended at Kumudini Medical College and Women’s Hospital with a CHRF-organized half-day cultural program.
The cultural program included a panel discussion by Miss Protiva Mutsuddi, Dr. P. K. Roy, Prof. Abdul Halim, Dr. Samir K. Saha, Mrs. Maksuda Islam, Dr. Senjuti Saha, Miss Hena Sultana, Prof. M. A. Jalil, and Dr. S. M. Shahidullah. The final and the most inspiring speech was presented by the Bangladeshi academic and language activist Boro Ma (Mutsuddi) of Kumudini.
In addition to our field workers, our laboratory and clinical research teams are also dominated by women. Our evergreen Maksuda Islam Apa, the godmother of CHRF, ensures that all our 5 labs and clinical research projects are run with excellence and integrity.
At CHRF, 206 of 317 (65%) employees are women. We are privileged to have such strong, bold, intelligent and hardworking women in our foundation. It is the energy and determination of our women workforce that makes CHRF the organization it is, that makes us heroes of Bill Gates, that makes us an internationally recognized research foundation in global health.