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A renewed focus on reducing child mortality

  • Published at 12:03 am November 24th, 2019
web-Mother with her child
Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

There remains much work to be done if we are to fulfill our goal of reducing child mortality

It is extremely encouraging to see the positive change community health workers have had on the overall maternal and child health of Bangladesh, a fact that was recognized during the second International Symposium on Community Health Workers held earlier this week in the capital.

Among the many markers that determine the development and health of a nation, few resonate as strongly as what the country’s child mortality rate is.

Bangladesh, over the years, has tragically fallen short of its goals on this front; despite moving forward in so many indices related to our country’s overall health and well-being, we remain plagued with a relatively high child mortality rate.

To that end, it is good to see the impact that community health workers have had on our rural population, providing vaccination, essential health service packages, and family planning services -- all  of which have been vital in slowly reducing our child mortality rate.

In the past, our public health sector has been rightfully criticized for not doing enough in bearing the burden of health care, and it is very encouraging to now see community clinics across the country, which now serve about 50 million people in our rural regions.

However, there remains much work to be done if we are to fulfill our goal of reducing child mortality as per the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Family planning remains inadequate, while there remains the stigma around birth control. 

What is needed, therefore, are strong advocacy initiatives to address both of these issues, and while the government has already made some progress on this front, more is required so that we can leave behind the woes of maternal and child health for good.