Bangladesh achieved highest success in reducing child death rate in South Asia as the country saw under-5 years child mortality rate downed to 63 per cent in last 20 years while Bhutan experienced 60 per cent, Nepal 59 and India 57 during the same period.
‘Bangladesh has cut its under-5 years mortality rate by 63 per cent since 2000 and by 77 per cent since 1990 while the country is expected to reach the global target of 25 or fewer deaths per 1,000 births in years before the 2030 deadline of Sustainable Development goals,’ said the ‘Global Childhood Report 2019’ of Save the Children published recently.
In 1990, the WHO Global Health Observatory data said 532,000 child deaths occurred in Bangladesh that is cut to around 100,000 annually currently.
Save the Children lauded the Bangladesh government’s efforts in setting up community clinics and bringing primary health care system under digitisation to improving child health.
In Bangladesh, the report found investments being focused on strengthening health systems and introducing and scaling up proven solutions for mothers, children and newborns.
‘Progress has been equitable – benefitting poor and rich, girls and boys, and also rural and urban children. Targeted, well-designed and equity- oriented programs have achieved high immunisation coverage and high rates of treatment of diarrhea and pneumonia in Bangladesh,’ it added.
Identifying that women’s and girl’s education and empowerment are key factors for having progress in Bangladesh the report said, adding the country has also engaged in civil society, including children and young people, in setting public policy priorities and influencing budget allocations.
Bangladesh has launched the national newborn health programme to reduce the remaining under-5 child deaths. The new initiative focuses on scaling up a package of evidence-based interventions in all 64 districts of the country.
In her message marking Safe Motherhood Day-2019 on May 28 last, prime minister Sheikh Hasina said the development of maternal and child health was the indispensible part of national development.
She said her government had introduced three-year midwifery course to ensure safe delivery and motherhood.
‘We have big challenge ahead to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births and reduce newborn mortality to 12 per 1,000 live births by 2030 to attain Sustainable Development Goals,’ she said.
To meet the challenge, the prime minister said, health and family welfare ministry was working to implement fourth health sector programme (2017-22) in light with the national seventh five year plan and Vision
Head of Pediatric Department of Institute of Child and Mother Health in the capital, Professor Wahida Khanom said the community clinic was playing an important role in reducing the death rate of newborn babies across the country.
‘Earlier, people don’t know where they can get health care for new born babies. Now rural people are taking the services from the community clinic easily,’ she said.
The initiatives of community clinics, one for every 6,000 people, became the engine of Bangladesh’s primary health care service that has
already been praised worldwide.
Besides, she said the child and mother health care services have been improved at union sub centres, upazila health complexes and satellite clinics.
However, pneumonia still remains the leading cause of death among children below the age of five as two children die of pneumonia every hour in Bangladesh.
Around 16 per cent of the deaths of children aged below five years are caused by pneumonia, according to the National Situation Analysis Report of Pneumonia 2018.
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