Significant rise in child mortality in 2022
A government study shows that the child mortality rate in Bangladesh has increased significantly in 2022 compared to 2021, which experts said highlights the gap in child healthcare services in the country.
In 2021, the mortality rate of children under five years of age was 28 per thousand.
It increased to 31 in 2022, according to the key findings of "Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics (BSVS) 2022", launched by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) at an event in the capital's BBS auditorium yesterday.
Similarly, deaths of children under one increased to 25 per thousand from 22 per thousand during the same period.
The national estimated population has increased to 17.85 crore as of January 1, 2023, according to BSVS, which was prepared based on data collected from 3,06,954 households and 13,02,788 people in 2012 primary sampling units in eight divisions.
Of those, 50.67 percent are female and 49.37 percent are male.
BSVS is a report prepared by regular surveillance under a BBS project "Sample Vital Registration System", to determine the annual population change at national and district levels, based on 138 indicators.
"We did not analyse the reasons behind child mortality. In 2021, we found that pneumonia was the leading cause, followed by jaundice and different types of fever," said Project Director Md Alamgir Hossen.
Diarrhoea, malnutrition, acute respiratory infection and drowning were among the other reasons, according to Alamgir.
We did not analyse the reasons behind child mortality. In 2021, we found that pneumonia was the leading cause, followed by jaundice and different types of fever.
State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam, however, was critical about the role of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in this regard.
"The rise in child mortality rate is not expected…The health ministry should take steps to reduce the rate," he said while addressing the launching event as a special guest.
A preliminary report of another government study, Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2022, published last April, revealed that the under-5 child mortality rate came down from 43 per thousand in 2017 to 31 per thousand in 2022.
"Qualitatively, the BSVS 2022 study is a good one. But it will not be directly comparable with BDHS before analysing the methods and other identified causes," Dr Shams El Arefin, senior director of icddr,b's maternal and child health division, told The Daily Star.
The study also revealed some improvements in several other indicators.
Maternal mortality rate, for example, has decreased to 156 per lakh from 168 per lakh, while life expectancy has increased to 72.4 years from 72.3 during the same period.
Besides, both the crude birth rate and the total fertility rate, have increased from 18.8 percent to 19.3 percent and from 2.05 to 2.15 percent respectively.
Meanwhile, the use of contraceptives has decreased from 65.6 percent to 63.8 percent.
Although 98.8 percent of the population has access to sanitation, access to safe sanitation is still low, around 66 percent. Around 99.4 percent of people have access to electricity. However, access to clean energy and technology in cooking is around only 28 percent.
The percentage of homeless people has decreased to 3.93 percent from 4.52 percent during the same period.
There have been improvements in several other indicators, including the literacy rate (76.8 percent for people aged 7 and above) and internet users (45.5 percent for people aged 15 years and above).
The population density per square kilometre was 1,163. Meanwhile, the migration rate per thousand to foreign countries has increased to 6.6 percent from 3 percent during the same period. Experts at the event termed it a result of brain drain.
"Brain drain will have a more tremendous impact than money laundering. We have to take it seriously while adopting any policy," said Shamsul Alam.
The divorce rate in Bangladesh doubled last year compared to 2021 -- from 0.7 per thousand to 1.4, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the rate of marriage of girls below 15 years of age increased to 6.5 percent of all girls in the age group in 2022, from 4.7 percent in 2021. The rate of marriage of girls below 18 years increased to 40.9 percent from 32.4 percent in the same period.