Over the past five decades, Bangladesh has made tremendous progress in health. With support from USAID, maternal and child mortality has reduced by two-thirds, and the average number of children a woman gives birth to has decreased from more than six to two. However, despite notable improvements in nutritional status, almost one third of children remain stunted. Half of all births currently take place in health facilities, compared to 17 percent just a decade ago, but maternal mortality has stagnated. Around 62 percent of married couples use contraceptives to delay or limit childbearing, but 12 percent of currently married women under age 50 say they would like to use contraceptives but do not have access to them. Additionally, Bangladesh is one of eight countries that account for more than two thirds of the global tuberculosis (TB) burden, and this curable disease kills 115 people across the country every day.

USAID health investments support the Government of Bangladesh’s (GOB) Health, Population and Nutrition Sector program and include a broad range of activities to strengthen health systems to improve the affordability, equity, and quality of services across the country in the public and private sectors and to become more resilient and able to respond to and recover from shocks. USAID works in maternal, neonatal, and child health; reproductive health; nutrition; TB; and the prevention and control of infectious disease outbreaks.

Strengthening Health Systems

USAID works with the GOB and the private sector to comprehensively strengthen health systems so that they will be better able to deliver high-quality, equitable health services. This includes systems to manage human resources; continuously improve the quality of services; ensure health product availability; improve health financing as well as governance and accountability, and strengthen information systems.

Building on Maternal and Child Health Progress

USAID partners with the GOB to expand access to quality services for mothers and children during the pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery periods to continue to reduce maternal and child mortality. USAID also stimulates demand for services by encouraging pregnant women to attend antenatal checkups and give birth under the supervision of a skilled health worker.

Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the onset of the pandemic, USAID has supported every aspect of the GOB’s COVID-19 response. This includes in-depth support for vaccination campaigns; COVID-19 testing and laboratory strengthening; high-quality treatment for COVID-19 patients; commodity logistics and donations; risk communication and community education; and even door-to-door support to households in 55 districts.

Combating TB and Other Infectious Diseases

USAID supports the GOB in its efforts to reduce the burden of TB, including improved diagnosis and treatment of multidrug-resistant TB. USAID also provides support to ensure an appropriately trained workforce and strengthened GOB capacity to effectively detect, monitor and respond to infectious disease threats and antimicrobial resistance.

Improving Nutrition

While child nutrition has improved steadily over the past decade in Bangladesh, only 35 percent of children receive the minimum acceptable diet and 44 percent of women of reproductive age are malnourished. USAID improves both community outreach and access to facility-based nutrition services and marketing of micronutrient supplements, and incorporates a multi-sector approach in health, agriculture, climate change, and water, sanitation and hygiene programs to address the complex causes of nutrition.


  • In 2022, USAID deployed 38 TrueNat TB testing devices to targeted remote areas in Bangladesh, radically transforming the ability of rural clinics to quickly and accurately diagnose TB and start treating patients more quickly. These portable devices don’t require ongoing electricity and diagnose TB in less than an hour, something that previously took two days and special equipment.
  • USAID has supported Bangladesh in its efforts to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) – more commonly known as elephantiasis – since 2011. In 2022, Bangladesh formally submitted the required paperwork to WHO to demonstrate elimination and the alleviation of suffering of affected populations. Bangladesh is the largest country to submit LF elimination certification thus far, and expects to be certified LF-free by mid-2023.
  • To reduce antimicrobial resistance, USAID successfully lobbied the GOB in 2022 to ban the use of key antimicrobials for use in animals. This policy will help reduce the chance of transmission of resistant organisms from animals to humans while enabling public health professionals to control infectious diseases, especially multidrug-resistant infections.
  • As one of the first countries to mobilize support for Bangladesh’s pandemic response, the United States is the largest donor of COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh and has provided nearly 115 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, including 30 million pediatric vaccines. USAID partners helped Bangladesh quickly administer those vaccines, ensuring vulnerable populations were included in campaigns. USAID trained more than 95,000 managers, vaccinators, doctors, cold chain engineers, and immunization superintendents across the country in vaccine management, and USAID partners transported more than 70 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, utilizing critical cold storage and transportation equipment donated for this purpose. This comprehensive support helped facilitate Bangladesh’s ability to fully vaccinate more than 75 percent of its population as of December 2022, preventing severe lockdowns and further economic instability.