Emerging Public Health Issues
Arsenicosis, the result of long term exposure to contaminated drinking water, affects large areas of Bangladesh. This is being addressed as part of UNICEF’s activity on Water, the Environment and Sanitation (WES)
The incidence of HIV/AIDS is low in Bangladesh, but measures are underway to prevent it from developing into a major problem.
Intensified effort is needed to increase coverage and improve the quality of routine EPI, particularly measles and neonatal tetanus.
One success has been the reduction of vitamin A deficiency in children. The prevalence of night blindness, an early indicator of vitamin A deficiency, has been maintained below the 1 per cent threshold that indicates a public health problem since 1997. However, intensified efforts are needed to reduce levels of vitamin A deficiency and its consequences among women of childbearing age as well as continuing to strengthen efforts among children.
Another success is the eradication of polio: with the last case of wild polio virus transmission recorded in August 2000, Bangladesh has progressed towards polio-free status.
A third area of progress is the improving coverage in EmOC services, in all districts. These gains now need to be consolidated by ensuring administrative rigour in staff assignment, quality monitoring, and reporting.