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An assessment on coverage of basic social services in Bangladesh

Bangladesh, in pursuit of its own development trajectory and commitment to fulfill the SDGs, continuously invests in social services projects including health, nutrition, education and child protection. The success of these interventions depends on effective coverage of the targeted beneficiaries. If an intervention fails to provide effective coverage, the related population remains deprived of the intended benefits. To shed light on the reasons for bottlenecks and failure in addition to finding possible solutions; a nationwide assessment has been conducted on the efficacy of basic social services with regard to breastfeeding complementary feeding of infants, iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy, maternal diet, management of illness, antenatal care, birth registration within 45 days of birth, early marriage, schooling for children aged between five and six years, comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS, safe water supply, sanitation and hygiene etc.

The modified Tanahashi approach and UNICEF Global MoRES were used to assess barriers to equitable access to basic social services at national and divisional levels in Bangladesh to specifically address outreach and effectiveness. Rigorous analysis of the data from spatial (divisions), sex, location (rural and urban) and human capital (educational attainment) perspectives entails the following observations.

Although Bangladesh has made significant progress in reducing poverty and improving food security, the overall nutrition status is not satisfactory. Malnutrition is more prevalent among children, adolescent girls and women. Almost 35% of children under age five are stunted, 31% are underweight and 10% are wasted. Under the broad theme of nutrition, four different issues on child and mother’s nutrition are discussed in this report. Child nutrition areas include early breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding. While mother’s nutrition includes maternal diet.

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