Bangladesh cuts 63% child death rate, highest in SA

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DHAKA, June 07, 2019 (BSS) – 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 percent in last 20 years while Bhutan
experienced 60 percent, Nepal 59 and India 57 during the same period.

“Bangladesh has cut its under-5 years mortality rate by 63 percent since
2000 and by 77 percent 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 (SDGs),” 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 digitization
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 immunization 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 Program 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 is
the indispensible part of national development.

She said her government has 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
(SDGs),” she said.

To meet the challenge, the premier said, the Health and Family Welfare
Ministry is working to implement fourth health sector programme (2017-22) in
light with the national seventh five year plan and Vision 2021.

Head of Pediatric Department of Institute of Child and Mother Health in
the capital, Professor Wahida Khanom said the community clinic is 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 centers, 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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