Bangladesh has already met several targets of the MDGs like reducing poverty gap ratio, attaining gender parity at primary and secondary education, under-five mortality rate reduction, containing HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs, children under five sleeping under insecticide treated bed nets, detection and cure rate of tuberculosis under directly observed treatment short course and others. In addition, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in the areas of poverty reduction, reducing the prevalence of underweight children, increasing enrolment at primary schools, lowering the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio, improving immunization coverage and reducing the incidence of communicable diseases. (i)- UNDP
The Millennium Development Goals, set forth in the UN Millennium Declaration 2000, are a set of numerical and time-bound targets to be achieved by 2015, taking 1990 as the base year. The MDGs are a set of quantified and time-bound goals marked as a strong commitment to the right to development, to peace and security, to gender equality, to eradication of many dimensions of poverty and to sustainable human development. To bring the people of lagging countries into mainstream development189 countries (there are 193 currently) adopted the MDGs having eight goals, 21 targets and 60 indicators in 2000.
The terminal year (2015) of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is drawing near and it is encouraging to note that Bangladesh has already met several targets of the MDGs like reducing headcount poverty and poverty gap ratio, attaining gender parity at primary and secondary education, under five mortality rate reduction, containing HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs, children under five sleeping under insecticide treated bed nets, detection and cure rate of TB under DOTS and others. In addition, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in reducing the prevalence of underweight children, increasing enrolment at primary schools, lowering the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio, improving immunization coverage and reducing the incidence of communicable diseases. (ii)
FULFILLING TARGETS USING OWN RESOURCES
Bangladesh has made significant strides in achieving major MDG targets, mostly utilising its own fund, though the daunting task required a great deal of foreign assistance. According to the MDG Bangladesh Country Report 2013, despite having resource constraints, Bangladesh is on the right track in achieving MDG targets with remarkable successes in poverty alleviation, gender equality, checking infant death and reining in HIV spread and tuberculosis. For accomplishing all the targets Bangladesh requires US $78.2 billion during 2011-2015, but its annual average Official Development Assistance (ODA) receipts was only $1.68 billion against its yearly requirement of $3 billion to $5 billion which is much lower than the necessity. The report further suggests that of the $1.68 billion ODA, 48.24 percent has been spent in some of sectors like education, health, social welfare, labour, rural development, public administration and social infrastructure. The figures clearly indicate that arrangement of own resources contributed the most to the MDG achievement.
BANGLADESH COUNTRY REPORT 2013: GOAL WISE ACHIEVEMENT
Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Bangladesh has made commendable progress in respect of eradication of poverty and hunger. It has sustained a GDP growth rate in excess of 6 percent in recent years that has played a positive role in eradicating poverty. The robust growth has been accompanied by corresponding improvements in several social indicators such as increased life expectancy and lower fertility rate despite having one of the world’s highest population densities.
Table 1: Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (iii)
The inclusive growth has resulted in impressive poverty reduction from 56.7 percent in 1991-92 to 31.5 percent in 2010; the rate of reduction being faster in the present decade than the earlier ones. The latest HIES 2010 data show that the incidence of poverty has declined at an annual rate of 2.47 percent in Bangladesh during 1992-2010 against the MDG target of 2.12 percent. Bangladesh has already met one of the indicators of target 1 by bringing down the poverty gap ratio to 6.5 against 2015 target of 8.0.
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Significant progress has been made in increasing equitable access in education (NER: 98.7 percent; girls: 99.4 percent, boys: 97.2 percent), reduction of dropouts, improvement in completion of the cycle, and implementation of a number of quality enhancement measures in primary education. Bangladesh has already achieved gender parity in primary and secondary enrolment. Initiatives have been taken to introduce pre-school education to prepare the children for formal schooling. The government is in the process of implementing a comprehensive National Education Policy (2010) to achieve its objectives. The Constitution of Bangladesh has provision for free and compulsory primary education. The challenges under MDG 2 include attaining the targets of primary education completion rate and the adult literacy rate. A large part of the physically and mentally retarded children remains out of the schooling system. The quality of education is also a challenge at the primary and higher level.
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower WomenBangladesh has already achieved this goal i.e. gender parity in primary and secondary education at the national level. This positive development has occurred due to some specific public interventions focusing on girl students, such as stipends and exemption of tuition fees for girls in rural areas, and the stipend scheme for girls at the secondary level. Bangladesh has made significant progress in promoting the objectives of ensuring gender equality and empowerment of women. Bangladesh has already achieved the targets of gender parity in primary and secondary education at the national level. This positive development has occurred due to some specific public interventions focusing on girl students, such as stipends and exemption of tuition fees for girls in rural areas, and the stipend scheme for girls at the secondary level. The Education Assistance Trust Act, 2012 has been passed and the Education Assistance Trust established to benefit the underprivileged meritorious students. In an effort to overall development through female education and women empowerment, the government has newly introduced first ever Education Trust Fund for students of graduate or equivalent level and allocated Tk 1,000 crore for this year. From the interest of the fund, the government would distribute Taka 75.15 crore among 1.33 lakh female students. Benevolent persons and education lovers have been urged to donate money to this fund and their donation would enjoy tax-waving facility. Bangladesh has made significant progress in promoting the objectives of ensuring gender equality and empowerment of women.
Goal 4: Reduce Child MortalityBangladesh is on track in meeting the target of this goal measured in three different indicators like under-five mortality rate, infant mortality rate and immunization against measles.
Table 2: Goal 4: Reduce child mortality (v)
The successful programs for immunization, control of diarrhoeal diseases and Vitamin A supplementation are considered to be the most significant contributors to the decline in child and infant deaths along with potential effect of overall economic and social development. Despite these improvements, there are challenges ahead. While the mortality rates have improved, major inequalities among the population segments still need to be addressed. Childhood injuries, especially drowning, have emerged as a considerable public health problem responsible for a full quarter of the deaths among children 1-4 years of age.
Goal 5: Improve Maternal HealthAccording to Bangladesh Maternal Mortality Survey (BMMS), maternal mortality declined from 322 in 2001 to 194 in 2010, a 40 percent decline in nine years. The average rate of decline from the base year has been about 3.3 percent per year, compared with the average annual rate of reduction of 3.0 percent required for achieving the MDG in 2015. The BMMS 2001 and 2010 show that overall mortality among women in the reproductive ages has consistently declined during these nine years.
Table 3: Goal 5: Improve maternal health (vi)
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) of BBS & UNICEF have found 43.5 percent of women age 15-49 years with a live birth in the last 2 years were attended by skilled health personnel in 2012-2013, which was only 24.4 percent in 2009. The government has framed the National Health Policy, 2011′ with a view to revamping the health sector and the ‘National Population Policy 2012′ has also been finalized. Moreover, in order to strengthen primary healthcare facilities, the government has launched 12,217 community clinics to expand health services to the grassroots level. The innovative idea to use the Information and Communication Technology for progress of the health of women and children has already been acclaimed by the world. However, challenges remains in the area of access to reproductive health.
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other DiseasesBangladesh has performed well in halting communicable diseases under this goal. Available data show that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh currently is less than 0.1 percent and thus is still below an epidemic level. According to National AIDS/STD Programmes (NASP), condom use rate at last high risk sex was 43.33 percent in 2013. According to National AIDS/STD Programmes (NASP), proportion of population aged 15-24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS is 17.70 percent in 2013. There was a significant improvement in the reduction of malarial deaths in the country over the years.
Table 4: Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases (vii)
The prevalence of malaria per 100,000 population was 441.5 in 2005, which came down to 202 in 2013. The MIS data of National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) show that the proportion of children under 5 sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets in 13 high risk malaria districts was 81 percent in 2008 which has increased to 90.1 percent in 2013. The proportion of children under-5 with fever who are treated with appropriate anti-malarial drugs was 80 percent in 2008, which was recorded at 89.50 percent in 2013 and the target is to achieve 90 percent in 2015 is almost achieved. The death rate associated with TB was 61 per 100,000 populations in 1990. The current status is 45 in 2012 which shows that the country is on track to achieve the target. A total of 190,893 cases have been reported to NTP in 2013. So the overall case notification rate was 119 per 100,000 population. The case notification rate for new smear positives cases in 2013 was 68 per 100,000 population.
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental SustainabilityAt present there is only 13.20 percent of land in Bangladesh having tree cover with density of 30 percent and above and the area having tree cover is much lower than the target set for 2015. Since 1991, there has been a steady increase in CO2 emission in Bangladesh because of increasing development interventions and activities. In 2012, the emission was 0.32 tonne per capita.
Table 5: Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability (viii)
At present the proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected is 1.83 percent which is much less than the target of 5 percent. Data show that without considering the issue of arsenic contamination, 97.9 percent of the population of Bangladesh is using improved drinking water source; 55.9 percent of population is using improved sanitation in 2012-2013. However, access to safe water for all is a challenge, as arsenic and salinity intrusion as a consequence of climate change fall out will exacerbate availability of safe water especially for the poor.
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for DevelopmentDuring the last two decades and more, Bangladesh, on an average, got US$ 1,672 million ODA per year. The disbursed ODA as a proportion of Bangladesh’s GDP has declined from 5.59 percent in FY 90-91 to 1.87 percent in FY 12-13, implying yearly average of 2.62 percent. During the same period, per capita ODA disbursement saw fluctuating figures ranging from US$ 18.29 to US$ 7.64; meaning yearly average of US$ 12.68. From FY 90-91 to FY12-13, on an average, each year Bangladesh got US$ 633 million as grants and US$ 1,045 million as loans. Out of 34-member states of the OECD, only eight countries provided US$ 624.9 million ODA to Bangladesh in 2012-13. The amount was about 22.23 percent of the total ODA received by Bangladesh in that particular year. The MDGs sectors like education, health, social welfare, labour, public administration and social infrastructure together with agriculture and rural development constituted around 48.24 percent of the total ODA outlay. To attain most of the MDGs targets by the stipulated period, accelerated development cooperation in terms of providing more grants, loans and transfer of technologies are considered must.
Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune
A major concern in the country is the pervasive underemployment which has prevented the country from fully meeting the MDG 1. The challenge is to ensure pro-poor economic growth that can lead to creation of more jobs, better employment and higher household income. Structural realities and constraints such as limited land for cultivation, high population density and a growing population represent significant challenges. To meet the future demand of a growing population, agricultural productivity growth, especially for rice and other crops, needs to be sustained.
According to GED’s seventh report on MDG, Bangladesh has made success in lowering child low-weight problem and maternal mortality. It has progressed in ensuring primary education, expansion of vaccination campaign and bridling contagious diseases. The report, however, identified some areas which require more attention from policymakers.
The areas include bringing down hunger, poverty, creating jobs and ensuring more quality jobs for women, enhancing the rate of primary school completion and informal education, ensuring more health workers during pregnancy, and information on AIDS and expanding forests and the use of ICT.
i. UNDP Bangladesh, Bangladesh Progress on the MDGs http://www.bd.undp.org/content/bangladesh/en/home/mdgoverview/
ii. MDG: Bangladesh Progress Report 2013, General Economic Division, Bangladesh Planning Commission
iii. Health Bulletin 2014, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family
iv. Welfare http://www.bd.undp.org/content/bangladesh/en/home/mdgoverview/overview/mdg1/
v. Health Bulletin 2014, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare