Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Childcare Reforms in Bangladesh

The Bangladesh government seems to be committed like never before towards the goal of improving healthcare services in the country. The government may have managed to bring down mortality rates of children under five from 152 to 94 deaths per 1000 live births; a lot still needs to be done. Industry experts claim that the country is going through a demographic transition. Decrease in child mortality may have been remarkable but this in turn has increased the incidence of chronic diseases.

Government’s effort to outline welfare issues in population, nutrition and health sector programs has come as a relief to millions of Bangladeshis. In an attempt to promote child care, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently enforced the Alternative Child Food Marketing Act and better management of nutritional programs on all levels. The Breastfeeding Foundation and Ministry of Health have been directed to work jointly for ensuring proper nutrition to the mother and new born child.

UNICEF statistic shows that more than 15 lac children can be saved from early death if they are breastfed 6 months after birth. To make this possible, day care centers are being set up at all government offices and authorities of insurance companies, private banks and hospitals in Bangladesh are also being encouraged to do the same. The provision of child care services seems to be improving in terms of affordability and accessibility but how far the government manages to meet the needs of minority ethnic groups will be something to look out for.

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