Every Day is Full of Joy: Thirty years as a midwife in Bangladesh


BOLLOBHPUR, Bangladesh—British midwife Sister Gillian Rose provides free medical and prenatal care in Bollobhpur, a village just minutes from the Indian border. Sister Gillian won’t reveal her age, but people close to her say she’s in her seventies. She’s been working here for over thirty years.

Sister Gillian first came to the country as a volunteer midwife in 1964 when Bangladesh was still part of Pakistan. Today she runs a hospital in one of the most neglected districts of the country, where 80 percent of women give birth without any medical assistance at all. One in 110 Bangladeshi women dies from birth complications. The lifetime risk of maternal death is higher in Bangladesh than in India or Myanmar.

Bollobhpur hopsital is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, despite frequent water shortages and power outages. A medical doctor from the government visits the hospital a few hours each week.

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