In Bangladesh, over the past decade there has been a significant decline in infant and child mortality. Control and prevention of diseases, such as measles, poliomyelitis, and diphtheria along with widespread use of ORS for diarrheal diseases have greatly reduced childhood mortality and morbidity. Bangladesh is on the verge of Polio eradication, and has already achieved the elimination goal for leprosy at the national level. People are living longer; the average life expectancy at birth in Bangladesh had increased to over 60 years in 2000. Population continues, however, to grow at about 1.4 percent and TFR has remained around 3.3 for the last several years. The maternal death ratio is still high at over 300 per 100,000 live births.

While there has been substantial progress in disease prevention and control and a decline in childhood communicable diseases, new and old infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are important threats to health for the years ahead. Projections are uncertain because of the potential of travel and trade, urbanisation, migration and microbial evolution to amplify these diseases. The emergence of drug resistant malaria and tuberculosis further increases the risk.

Non-communicable diseases are a heterogeneous group that includes major causes of death, such as heart diseases, diabetes and cancer, and disability, such as mental disorders. These are also on the rise in Bangladesh.

Malnutrition is a major cause of death and debility in children in Bangladesh. Micro-nutrient deficiency is quite common; nearly 75 per cent of children's life is spent in illness mostly due to malnutrition related debility and infections. Poor nutrition deters physical, cognitive and mental development. Low birth weight and malnourished children are susceptible to infections; roughly two-thirds of under-five deaths are attributed to malnutrition, 75 per cent of it being associated with mild and moderate malnutrition. About 25 per cent of maternal deaths are associated with anemia and haemorrhage. Women and adolescent girls mostly suffer from Anemia owing to iron deficiency.

Printable Version

Source: Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2004,

National Institute of Population Research & Training (NIPORT), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, GoB; Mitra and Associates, Bangladesh; MEASURE/DHS+, Macro International Inc., Calverton, Maryland, USA. September, 2004.


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