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Health and Nutrition

Image of a mother and her newborn baby in Bangladesh.
A mother lies beside her newborn in Gowainghat, Sylhet. Since 1990, USAID has helped Bangladesh reduce maternal and child mortality by more than 60 percent.
Shafiqul Alam Kiron/Save the Children

Bangladesh is one of the few countries to achieve its Millennium Development Goals related to child and maternal mortality. In the past 25 years, under-five mortality has declined by 66 percent and maternal mortality has declined by 75 percent. However, high rates of under-nutrition persist among children, resulting in 36 percent of children being stunted. USAID focuses on improving maternal and child health, expanding family planning and reproductive health, integrating family planning and nutrition into basic healthcare, and strengthening public health systems to improve the quality and availability of services across the country. USAID also supports the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) in its efforts to reduce the burden of tuberculosis (TB), strengthen its health systems, and contributes to the Bangladesh government’s Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program.

Improving Maternal and Child Health

To continue gains made in maternal and child health, USAID trains community health workers and clinic staff to help them provide high-quality care during childbirth. USAID also teaches health workers to use a simple resuscitation device to prevent asphyxia during birth and apply antiseptic to babies’ umbilical cords to prevent infection. USAID outreach and mobile health initiatives encourage pregnant women and their families to ensure they attend antenatal checkups and give birth under the supervision of a skilled health worker.

Expanding Use of Family Planning

While more than half of all Bangladeshi couples use modern methods of contraception, the Bangladesh government aims to increase contraceptive use to 72 percent. To this end, USAID works with local partners to ensure that men, women, and couples have access to high-quality reproductive health services. USAID and the GOB have developed a public awareness strategy to promote the benefits of family planning, proper birth spacing, and contraceptives. USAID also conducts research to evaluate family planning programs and utilize innovative technology to maximize reach and efficiency in providing reproductive health services.

Integrated Healthcare Services

High-quality family planning, health, and nutrition services remain limited in Bangladesh, particularly among poor people in rural areas, as well as overcrowded urban areas. In response, USAID integrates family planning, nutrition, and maternal, newborn, and child health services into a package of basic healthcare services available in clinics throughout the country. This one-stop-shop approach also provides nutritional supplements for pregnant women and young children, and promotes exclusive breastfeeding for infants during the first six months of life.

Strengthening Health Systems and Governance

USAID assists Bangladesh to strengthen its public health systems with an emphasis on improving primary healthcare delivery at the community level. At the national level, USAID programs work with public health leaders to improve policy and planning, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, procurement, and logistics. We also support the government’s national TB program, providing financial support and technical assistance to upgrade TB laboratory technology and procure drugs to treat multidrug resistant TB patients.

Results

In 2017, USAID programs in Bangladesh:

  • Provided over 46 million health service consultations through an extensive network of 399 NGO clinics, 10,000 satellite clinics, and 7,300 community health volunteers.
  • Supported provision of family planning and reproductive health services through over 170,000 public, private and NGO sector service outlets.  USAID programs currently account for one third of Bangladesh's modern contraceptive use.
  • Strengthened GOB’s health systems that enabled 103 public sector clinics in under-served areas to provide 24/7 (at any time of any day) delivery services.
  • Advanced the use of technological solutions to improve governance, transparency, and public sector health systems’ efficiency. This includes: introducing appropriate technology to detect deadly multi-drug resistant tuberculosis within two hours, digitizing the Directorate of Family Planning’s routine health information system to improve service provision, and establishing an electronic Logistics Management Information System that has streamlined government’s procurement and distribution of 25 life-saving drugs and family planning commodities.

 

Last updated: August 30, 2018

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