A Case for Geographic Targeting of Basic Social Services to Mitigate Inequalities in Bangladesh
The reduction of geographic inequalities is a powerful strategy to accelerate poverty reduction with equity.UNICEF conducted this study to better understand geographic disparities with regard to basic social services.
Analysis of the data from the 2009 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), conducted jointly by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF indicates that considerable disparities exist between districts and within districts between upazilas in terms of achieving MDGs. MICS 2009 is the only national survey providing data for key MDG indicators down to the upazila level.
A multi-sectoral composite deprivation index was developed to identify those areas where multi-sector deprivations occur. Analysis of this data revealed that 8 districts (Bandarban, Habiganj, Sunamgonj, Cox’s Bazar, Khagrachari, Netrokona, Sherpur and Bhola) out of 64, or 80 upazilas out of 481, fall in the most deprived category based on the quintile method. The line ministries could use this criterion, among others, to target their national or sub-national programmes or projects more equitably to accelerate poverty reduction and achieve the MDGs with equity.
Considering the challenges of traditional targeting and resource constraints of the Government, effective blanket geographic targeting of basic social services to the most deprived geographic areas of Bangladesh is recommended as a means of achieving the MDGs with equity.