DHS shows great progress in Bangladesh’s nutrition sector
Nurul Islam Hasib, bdnews24.com
Published: 2015-04-25 23:38:50.0 BdST Updated: 2015-04-26 01:12:51.0 BdST
New data shows Bangladesh has made a great progress in the nutrition sector, once regarded as the least improved area, reaching 2016 targets ahead of time.
The results of the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2014 released on Saturday, however, found the fertility rate remained stagnant in the last three years, pointing at the moribund state of the family planning sector.
The population research and training institute, NIPORT, has been conducting the survey every three years with supports from the USAID and the ICF International to evaluate the entire health and family planning sector’s performance.
The 2014 edition, seventh of its kind since 1993-94, also established the fact that the country has achieved the MDG-4 target of cutting child deaths much ahead of time.
“We found excellent progress in six indicators,” a key member of this survey’s technical committee Dr Kanta Jamil, a senior adviser of the USAID,’s Office of Population, Health, Nutrition and Education, said.
She said they had evaluated 18 indicators of the ongoing health, population and nutrition sector programmes that would end in 2016, and found eight of them need “greater programme attention”.
Of the “excellent” progressed indicators, three were related to nutrition.
Stunting of the under-five children has been reduced to 36 percent, two percentage points lower than the 2016 targets, and five percentage points than the 2011’s BDHS.
Underweight has been reduced to 33 percent from the 36 percent in 2011, putting Bangladesh on track to reach one of the MDG 1 targets.
But the progress has been explained mostly due to non-health factors like the increased level of parents’ education, and improved socio-economic conditions as found in the survey.
The survey collected data from more than 17,500 ever-married women aged between 15 years and 49 years in over 17,000 households nationwide.
The total fertility rate remained the same since 2011 with 2.3 births per woman while the use of modern contraceptive methods has been increased by only 1 percentage point in the last three years.
Analysts say family planning sector which is dominated by the bureaucrats lacks leadership.
Dhaka division’s fertility rate increase has also impacted the total fertility rate of the country as about one-third of Bangladesh’s population live in this division, according to the survey.
Though more women were found coming to the facilities for giving births, C-section rate had increased to 23 percent, a figure termed much higher in any context.
The survey, however, found that exclusive breastfeeding rate had declined in the last three years, along with the coverage of the measles vaccine and Vitamin-A capsule.
But those could be addressed by giving a special attention, Kanta Jamil said.
She said the purpose of the survey was “not to measure success or failure”.
“It’s to guide us where we need greater programme attention to attain programme objectives,” she said.
The health minister thanked those who worked behind the BDHS and said “they have done a wonderful job”.
“We have to set priorities analysing those data,” he said.
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