Preconception care through Religious Leaders
A joint community awareness program of Diabetic Association of Bangladesh and Law and Justice Divishion, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, funded by World Diabetes Foundation for strengthening preconception care
Evidences show that in modern era achieving heathy maternal and child outcomes are possible in all pregnancies if someone plan it properly and use the up-to-date management facilities including preconception care, antenatal care and regular check-ups throughout pregnancy. International Diabetes Federation has given particular importance on ‘‘Life Circle’’ approach to prevention and care of diabetes—a continuum beginning from preconception, pregnancy, infancy and childhood to adult life in an integrated manner.
Recent trends in health education and health promotion emphasize social and cultural sensitivities community based interventions as an important strategy to improve health outcomes.
But still a care gap exists between “desired” and “real” prepregnancy care. The suggested reasons for this gap include socioeconomic deprivation, ethnic differences in the risks and lack of competencies within the health system, use of the health care system, or difficulties with health literacy. These findings should be given particular importance to develop capacity in terms of human resources, well formulated policies, standardized protocols, and culturally sensitive awareness/advocacy campaigns to initiate screening program before and during antenatal period and also to prevent NCDs particularly GDM.
Religious leaders in different countries have played a significant role in paving the way for scientific promotion of health. They have played significant role in creating public awareness on diabetes prevention, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, immunization and family planning. Still there is not enough information on community awareness programs that address preconception care and prevention of NCDs particularly GDM in Bangladeshi population.
Majority of people (89 percent) in Bangladesh are Muslims. Muslim marriage is a solemn covenant between a man and a woman which must be registered by the Marriage Registrar (Kazi in local language), therefore, there is a wonderful opportunity to seek the influence of Kazis in creating community awareness and also helping people to take proactive action and change their attitudes about preconception care, proper pregnancy planning and prevention of NCDs particularly GDM. After completion of training program, their role will be to advocate, promote, and encourage for preconception care and planed pregnancy.
They will discuss about the positive impact of preconception care and planed pregnancy to the couples during wedding ceremony. They will advise couples to visit nearest preconception care corners of BADAS and its AAs for details advice and some routine check-ups (including height, weight, blood glucose, blood pressure, haemoglobin, blood group, urine R/M/E) to screen type 2 diabetes, hypertension, anaemia, nutritional status (under/over nutrition), urinary tract infection before planning pregnancy. They will distribute a booklet containing information including screening and management (both medical and social) related to the preconception care and prevention of NCDs particularly GDM and how to seek these care service to nearby centres/ hospitals of BADAS and its AAs.