Challenges facing the children of Bangladesh
Anik, 14, works in a metal workshop, where he cuts metal pipes for a living at Hawker Market, Koshai Khana, Barisal. It is a hazardous work for children of his age.
- Twenty-six million children live below the national poverty line, typically deprived of four out of seven of the following basic services: water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health, information, and shelter.
- Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child-marriage in the world. 66 per cent of women (aged 20 to 24) were married before they turned 18.
- Thirteen per cent of children are involved in child labour. Child labourers are frequently denied an education and are vulnerable to violence and abuse.
- Bangladesh has one of the lowest rates of birth registration in the world. This makes it difficult to protect children from trafficking, child labour and child marriage.
- An estimated, 79.5 per cent of students enrolled in grade one complete primary school.
- While many parents do play with their youngest children, they have little or no understanding of how play and other informal learning to help prepare children for school.
- High drop-out rates and poor quality teaching and learning are serious problems for primary schools.
- Forty-six per cent of boys and 53 per cent of girls attend secondary school.
- Neonatal death and maternal mortality rates remain high, primarily because most deliveries take place at home without access to proper medical care.
- Health facilities lack qualified staff and suffer from shortages of supplies.
- Drowning and injury is the leading cause of death among children older than one year.
- Major prevention efforts are needed to keep HIV prevalence rates low.
- Under-nutrition contributes to child mortality. Around 18 per cent of infants are born with low birth weight and 36 per cent of children under-five are underweight.
- Severe Acute Malnutrition is currently at 4 per cent which affects an estimated 600,000 children in Bangladesh.
- In Bangladesh, the rate of initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of life is 47 per cent while the exclusive breastfeeding rate is 64 per cent. However, only 21 per cent of 6-23 month old children have the Minimum Acceptable Diet (MAD).
"I used to sleep here at the Barisal river port. Now I live at a drop-in centre. This child also has the right to live a better life." Photo and quote by Dulal Hossain, 12, Barisal river port, Barisal, Bangladesh.
Water and sanitation
- About 55 per cent of the population use improved sanitation facilities.
- Safe hygiene practices, especially proper hand washing, remain a challenge in the fight against disease.
- Development is hampered by annual floods and other natural disasters, including cyclones and tornados. Bangladesh is also susceptible to earthquakes.
- Avian influenza continues to threaten lives and livelihoods in Bangladesh.
- Low-lying Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
- In the Chittagong Hill Tracts (south-eastern Bangladesh), ethnic minorities have suffered a slower development rate than the national average, due primarily to a history of civil conflict and the difficult terrain.
- The health and wellbeing of Rohingya refugee children, whose families fled from Myanmar to the south-eastern part of Bangladesh following internal conflict, remains a concern.