UNICEF-BBS survey shows huge geographic disparities in reaching the Millennium Development Goals in BangladeshDhaka , January 24, 2010. Despite the overall good progress made by Bangladesh towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a recent survey by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) supported by UNICEF shows huge disparities between the 64 districts of the country. Twenty four social indicators were assessed, but the preliminary report presents the findings for nine indicators. Using a composite index based on these nine indicators, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) ranks each district according to their level of performance.
The five best performing districts are Jehnaidah, Meherpur, Munshiganj, Panchgarh and Narayanganj. The five least performing district are Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Sunamganj, Khagrachhari and Bandarban.
These key findings were disseminated today at a workshop chaired by the Minister of Planning, Air Vice Marshal (Retd) A.K. Khander (BU), MP with UNICEF Representative, Carel de Rooy, as guest of honour.
A large gap exists between the best and the worst performing districts for those nine indicators related to education, child health, maternal health, HIV/AIDS, access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation.
For child mortality (children under five), the lowest performing district, Sherpur, records 102 deaths per 1,000 live births and the best performing one, Pabna, records only 43 per 1,000 while the national average is 67 per 1,000. For the proportion of births attended by a skilled attendant, there is also a huge disparity with 61 per cent for the best performing district, Meherpur, and 8 per cent for the lowest performing, Bandarban, with the national average being 24 per cent.
Regarding the net attendance rate in primary education, the difference is 30 percentage points between the best performing district, Meherpur (91 per cent) and the least performing , Bandarban (60.6 per cent), the national average being 81.3 per cent with no significant difference between girls and boys. It should be noted that attendance is also very low in urban slum areas with 62.8 per cent.
‘For the first time, this survey provides detailed information not only on the situation of 64 districts, as in past surveys, but also for the 481 upazilas in relation to social sectors comprising the Millennium Development Goals”, said Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative. “This provides a solid baseline for the Government to measure progress on MDGs at all levels, especially as similar surveys will be conducted in 2012 and 2015. It is particularly important to take a close look at those data as the Government is now preparing its 6th National Development Plan and has the opportunity to target the most deprived areas with specific interventions and budget allocations in order to catch up with the rest of the country and achieve MDGs with equity.’
Access to improved source of water is almost universal with 97.8 per cent, but the report also indicates that 12.6 per cent of the households’ drinking water exceeds Bangladesh standards for arsenic content. When taking arsenic contamination into consideration, access to safe drinking water is reduced to 85.2 per cent of the population.
The 2009 MICS survey was conducted by BBS. A total of 7,683 interviewers collected data from 300,000 households from April to May 2009. A total of 13,301 water samples were tested for arsenic.
For more information please visit: www.unicef.org.bd