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Dhaka Tribune

ED: Fulfilling the potential of our people

Bangladesh could very well lose the immense progress we have made in health and education over the last decade

Update : 17 Sep 2020, 09:14 PM

For the past decade, according to the World Bank’s 2020 Human Capital Index, the world has seen partial to significant improvements across all regions -- from where enough data was available -- in the areas of health and education.

We are the perfect example: Bangladesh’s economic growth as a nation, the rate at which standard of living has improved for its citizens, and the progress we have made as we continue to meet the Sustainable Development Goals are some of the many factors which have contributed to Bangladeshis living better lives than before.  

However, there was a lot more left to be done: Despite the progress, the situation was not ideal, with children expected to achieve only 56% of their full potential, according to a benchmark created by the index, which covers 98% of the world’s population across 174 countries.  

But the pandemic has changed everything. Because of lockdowns and economic restrictions brought about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, countries such as Bangladesh could very well lose the immense progress we have made in health and education over the last decade.

Children are losing out on precious school time as we speak, but the pandemic has had widespread detrimental effects elsewhere as well, with increasing incidents of child marriage and gender-based violence, all of which contribute to a less hospitable environment for healthy living and educational empowerment.

We cannot afford to lose these human capital gains. Bangladesh needs to understand the potential of the people on whose backs the country runs and the children who will carry this nation into the future.

It is only through expanding access to and improving the quality of health care services for the nation, including its marginalized communities, ensuring children’s continued enrollment in quality education, and supporting families during the crisis that Bangladesh can survive the pandemic and move towards fulfilling its potential.

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