Healthy Women, Healthy Families (Shustha Ma, Shustha Poribar)

Healthy Women, Healthy Families (Shustha Ma, Shustha Poribar)


The complexity of delivering maternal and newborn health (MNH) and family planning (FP) services in the urban slums of Tongi is exacerbated by Bangladesh’s deep gender inequities; high rates of adolescent fertility; low levels of reproductive health knowledge; and poor quality and uptake of health services, especially among young people. The Healthy Women, Healthy Families project (Shustha Ma, Shustha Poribar in Bangla) aims to provide services that will improve the quality, acceptability, and accessibility of care for young women and children in Tongi; improve birth spacing; and provide evidence to inform future models of care in Bangladesh.

With a dynamic group of partners, including BRAC, Scope, and the Population Council, we are leading the three-year project to increase utilization and improve quality of MNH and FP services in the Tongi, Gazipur City Corporation, near Dhaka. We are co-designing, implementing, and evaluating a program for young women and their partners experiencing their first pregnancy. This work is being done in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, which share responsibility for urban health in Bangladesh.

The adaptive approach, co-designed with young women and health workers, will complement existing facility-based care with a community platform and social support services to provide women with access to critical health information and peer support while helping them develop life skills. This program will improve both the clinical quality and the experience of antenatal and postnatal care, newborn and infant health and nutrition, and planning for healthy birth spacing.

Transforming Urban Healthcare—Innovations in Maternal and Newborn Health Services in Bangladesh: Discover the innovative service delivery model of group antenatal and postnatal care, pioneered by MSH’s Healthy Women, Healthy Families — Shustha Ma, Shustha Poribar — project in Bangladesh. In collaboration with BRAC, Population Council, and Scope, MSH is implementing the Shustha Ma, Shustha Poribar project at BRAC Maternity Centers to enhance access to quality maternal & newborn health and family planning services for young first-time parents in the urban slums of Tongi, Dhaka.
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Healthy Women, Healthy Families Factsheet

With a dynamic group of partners, MSH leads the four-year project Healthy Women, Healthy Families (HWHF) (Shustha Ma, Shustha Poribar in Bangla) to increase utilization and improve the quality of maternal and newborn health (MNH) and family planning (FP) services for young Bangladeshi women and their partners in the underserved urban slums of Tongi, Gazipur City Corporation near Dhaka.

Putting Women at the Center of the Health System in Bangladesh

Thinking about health systems means addressing barriers to care. Midwives in Bangladesh are using a person-centered, culturally appropriate, group-based model of antenatal care (ANC) where women share their experiences in group settings, learn through peer-to-peer interaction, participate in social activities and games to build relationships, and receive individual routine checkups by the midwife alongside other expectant mothers. Learn how the relationships they build increase access to care and lead to better health outcomes. 

Dr. Farzana Islam

Project Director

Project Contact

Dr. Farzana Islam has more than 15 years of experience planning, designing, and implementing public health projects with a focus on maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health; health systems strengthening and capacity building. Dr. Islam served as the Project Director for a USAID-funded project on performance improvement for community health workers and the five-year MaMoni Health Systems Strengthening project in Bangladesh. In addition to her expertise as a master trainer, team leader, and program developer, she also has many years of experience working in partnership with government stakeholders and managing multi-partner projects. Dr. Islam is a medical graduate and holds a master’s degree in public health.

Donors & Partners


Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies




Population Council