Healing the world: Bangladesh

By Selena Ross

WASHINGTON — Here’s a fact-based snapshot of Bangladesh, one of the eight countries that the U.S. government has spotlighted in its initial work through the Global Health Initiative:


Total GHI spending:
FY 2009: $41.55 million
FY 2010: $53.2 million

Total population: 156 million
GDP per capita: $497

Proportion of children under 5 who are underweight: 46 percent
Among women who want no more children, those using long-term contraception: 7.2 percent

Major health concerns in the country:

1) Malnutrition and high rates of underweight infants, children and mothers

2) High maternal mortality rate; low proportion of births attended by a skilled assistant

3) One of the world’s highest burdens of tuberculosis with 70,000 deaths annually

GHI’s main goals: Increase use of long-term, modern family planning methods starting in adolescence; reduce maternal mortality by nearly doubling the number of attended births; improve nutritional status with an intensive series of food programs; cut the tuberculosis burden by half by treating millions of new cases.

GHI on the ground: American aid officials will work with the Bangladeshi health ministry on behavioral change campaigns. One campaign, called “1000 days,” encourages communities to focus on children’s nutrition from conception to age 2.

(Sources: CIA; GHI country strategy documents; Kaiser Family Foundation; UN; www.foreignassistance.gov)