Country of Origin
In an attempt to further improve maternal and newborn health in Bangladesh, the BRAC University has started a three-year diploma in midwifery education programme, with the goal of ensuring availability of at least one midwife in all the 4,500 unions of the country by 2030, starting from the hard-to-reach under-served areas. The programme used a ‘hub and spoke’ model, where the BRAC University is the hub and six NGOs working in the rural under-served areas are the spokes, termed as academic sites. In addition, a new academic site was established in 2014 by the BRAC University in urban, Dhaka through its newly established Department of Midwifery and Nursing. The urban academic site, or spoke, is the Department of Midwifery and Nursing at the BRAC University.
The curriculum, which has been developed and is being followed, is of international standards and is consistent with the national curriculum. The first cohort of 180 students, second cohort of 170 students, and third cohort of 60 students started their classes, respectively, from January 2013, July 2014, and January 2015. There are 52 faculty members. The programme is expected to create a cadre of midwives on the one hand, and test the effectiveness of a retention strategy for keeping the midwives in hard-to-reach under-served areas on the other hand.
Getting faculty and students for the programme has been a challenge in the absence of a full time midwifery professional and established career for them in the country. This paper describes the approach that the BRAC University has taken, the challenges faced and the ways adopted to of tackle them. It is expected that the programme will improve the situation of maternal and neonatal health in Bangladesh, significantly.
Bhuiya, I, Chowdhury, A, & Zahiduzzaman, K. First Private Sector Midwifery Education initiative in Bangladesh: Experience from the BRAC University. Journal of Asian Midwives. 2015;2(1):14–25.