Bangladesh - Health

Malaria, tuberculosis, and other serious diseases remain endemic and public health problems are aggravated by widespread malnutrition and periodic natural disasters. Between 1995 and 2000, the prevalence of malnutrition in children under five years old decreased from 84% to 55%. In 2000, 97% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 53 % had adequate sanitation, up from 78% and 35%, respectively, in 1980. Because the lack of vitamin A plays a role in blindness and malnutrition, in 1993 the government of Bangladesh introduced a national system to distribute vitamin A capsules to children (with about 25% having been served at that time).

In 1990, there were 8,566 doctors (15 per 1,000 people), 2,630 pharmacists, 523 dentists, and 5,074 nurses. In the mid-1990s, only 45% of the population had access to health services. As of 1999, there were an estimated 0.2 physicians and 0.3 hospital beds per 1,000 people.

Average life expectancy at birth in 2000 was 61 years. The government pays the majority of vaccination costs, which has helped increase participation. As of 1999, estimated immunization rates for children under one year of age were 71% for measles and 72% for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The infant mortality rate was 60 per 1,000 live births in 2000. It was estimated that 54% of married women (ages 15–49) used contraception as of 1999. Maternal deaths were estimated at 440 per 100,000 live births in 1998, down from 850 in 1990.

A new strain of cholera was reported late in 1992. Only seven new cases of AIDS were reported in 1995. As of 1999 an estimated 13,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS and the prevalence rate was 0.02 for every 100 adults.

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