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Dhaka, Bangladesh

Shakur Y.A.,University of Toronto | Choudhury N.,BRAC | Ziauddin Hyder S.M.,University of Toronto | Zlotkin S.H.,University of Toronto
Public Health Nutrition | Year: 2010

Objective: To determine the prevalence of anaemia and maternal and infant factors associated with Hb values in infants at 6 months of age in rural Bangladesh.Design Infants (born to mothers supplemented with Fefolic acid from mid-pregnancy) were visited at birth and 6 months of age. Mothers anthropometric status, and infants birth weight, gestational age at birth, weight and Hb concentration at 6 months were measured. Household socio-economic and demographic data, infant feeding practices and health status were collected using a pre-tested structured questionnaire.Setting Rural Bangladesh.Subjects Four hundred and two infants.Results: For the total cohort (n 402), the range of anaemia prevalence values was from 30.6% using a cut-off value of Hb < 95 g/l to 71.9% using a value of Hb < 110 g/l. Birth weight and month of birth were the only factors positively associated with infant Hb in a linear regression model (P = 0.008 and 0.011, respectively).Conclusions: There was an unexpectedly high prevalence of anaemia in infants at 6 months of age, before the assumed period of vulnerability. Hb at this age tended to be higher in those with higher birth weight. We also found a season effect on Hb, as it tended to be higher as the study progressed. The high prevalence of anaemia at such an early age needs to be addressed to minimize the diseases long-term consequences. Source


Balagtas J.V.,Purdue University | Bhandari H.,International Rice Research Institute | Cabrera E.R.,International Rice Research Instititute | Mohanty S.,International Rice Research Instititute | Hossain M.,BRAC
Agricultural Economics (United Kingdom) | Year: 2014

We assess the effects of the dramatic rise in agricultural commodity prices during 2007-2008 on income dynamics and poverty among rural households in Bangladesh. A unique panel data set allows us to put the effects of recent events in the context of long-run trends in income and poverty. We use data from a nationally representative longitudinal survey of rural households in Bangladesh collected in four waves in 1988, 2000, 2004, and 2008. Nargis and Hossain (Nargis, N., Hossain, M., 2006. Income dynamics and pathways out of rural poverty in Bangladesh, 1988-2004. Agric. Econ. 35, 425-435) analysed income dynamics and poverty incidence for the first three waves, finding a declining trend in both the incidence and severity of poverty, aided in particular by human capital development and off-farm employment opportunities. We update and extend the analysis to include data collected in 2008, at the height of a spike in agricultural prices. We find that the price of a balanced food basket increased by more than 50% during 2000-2008, while household income rose only 15%. As a result the incidence and severity of rural poverty in Bangladesh sunk to pre-2000 levels during 2004-2008. Thus, the price spikes in 2007-2008 helped push an additional 13 million people into poverty in rural Bangladesh. Moreover, we find that the determinants of poverty have not been time-invariant. In particular, agricultural production, which had previously been associated with a higher incidence of poverty, served as a hedge against higher food prices during 2004-2008. © 2013 International Association of Agricultural Economists. Source


Hussain S.,Brac University | Hussain S.,University of Queensland | Ruano A.L.,University of Bergen | Rahman A.,BRAC | And 2 more authors.
International Journal for Equity in Health | Year: 2015

Introduction: Indigenous peoples are among the most marginalized peoples in the world due to issues relating to well-being, political representation, and economic production. The research consortium Goals and Governance for Global Health (Go4Health) conducted a community consultation process among marginalized groups across the global South aimed at including their voices in the global discourse around health in the post-2015 development agenda. This paper presents findings from the consultations carried out among indigenous communities in Bangladesh. Methods: For this qualitative study, our research team consulted the Tripura and Mro communities in Bandarban district living in the isolated Chittagong Hill Tracts region. Community members, leaders, and key informants working in health service delivery were interviewed. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings: Our findings show that remoteness shapes the daily lives of the communities, and their lack of access to natural resources and basic services prevents them from following health promotion messages. The communities feel that their needs are impossible to secure in a politically indifferent and sometimes hostile environment. Conclusion: Communities are keen to participate and work with duty bearers in creating the conditions that will lead to their improved quality of life. Clear policies that recognize the status of indigenous peoples are necessary in the Bangladeshi context to allow for the development of services and infrastructure. © 2015 Hussain et al. Source


Chowdhury A.M.R.,BRAC | Chowdhury A.M.R.,Columbia University | Bhuiya A.,International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research | Chowdhury M.E.,International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research | And 3 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2013

Bangladesh, the eighth most populous country in the world with about 153 million people, has recently been applauded as an exceptional health performer. In the fi rst paper in this Series, we present evidence to show that Bangladesh has achieved substantial health advances, but the country's success cannot be captured simplistically because health in Bangladesh has the paradox of steep and sustained reductions in birth rate and mortality alongside continued burdens of morbidity. Exceptional performance might be attributed to a pluralistic health system that has many stakeholders pursuing womencentred, gender-equity-oriented, highly focused health programmes in family planning, immunisation, oral rehydration therapy, maternal and child health, tuberculosis, vitamin A supplementation, and other activities, through the work of widely deployed community health workers reaching all households. Government and non-governmental organisations have pioneered many innovations that have been scaled up nationally. However, these remarkable achievements in equity and coverage are counterbalanced by the persistence of child and maternal malnutrition and the low use of maternityrelated services. The Bangladesh paradox shows the net outcome of successful direct health action in both positive and negative social determinants of health-ie, positives such as women's empowerment, widespread education, and mitigation of the eff ect of natural disasters; and negatives such as low gross domestic product, pervasive poverty, and the persistence of income inequality. Bangladesh off ers lessons such as how gender equity can improve health outcomes, how health innovations can be scaled up, and how direct health interventions can partly overcome socioeconomic constraints. Source


Chowdhury A.M.R.,BRAC | Jenkins A.,Impact Assessment Unit | Nandita M.M.,Research and Evaluation Division
Journal of Development Effectiveness | Year: 2014

BRAC started out as a limited relief operation in 1972 in a remote region in Bangladesh and has become probably the largest nongovernmental development organisation in the world. Organising the poor using communities’ own human and material resources, BRAC has developed a holistic development approach geared towards inclusion, using tools like microfinance, education, healthcare, legal services, community empowerment, social enterprises and BRAC University. Its work now touches the lives of an estimated 135 million people in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. BRAC established a Research and Evaluation Division (RED) in 1975 that, over time, has grown and developed as a multidisciplinary independent research unit. The division has been playing an important role in designing BRAC’s development interventions, monitoring progress, documenting achievements and undertaking impact assessment studies. It provides an analytical basis for BRAC’s programmatic decisions, fine-tuning it for better performance and making development efforts evidence-based, effective and community-sensitive. This article uses specific examples to demonstrate how a close link between evaluation and research, and project planning and implementation can drive a dynamic process of ‘development’, both in the sense of economic and social development of communities and in the sense of institutional change and innovation within BRAC itself. For example, research on the distribution of benefits in microfinance demonstrated that it rarely reached the ‘ultra-poor’, that is, those spending >80 per cent of income on food and still not reaching 80 per cent of calorie requirements. The ultra-poor tend to have limited social assets; this is a reason why they may not be included as members of self-selected microfinance groups, and there is a considerable literature on this. In 2002, this led directly to the introduction of a package of specific measures, centred on ‘asset-transfer’, which has enabled hundreds of thousands to ‘graduate’ from ultra-poverty and has been replicated in at least 11 countries. Results have been verified extensively through rigorous evaluation and are contributing to a continuing global policy dialogue on the effectiveness of different approaches to ‘social safety nets’. This article also explores how organisational structures in BRAC aid or impede the reporting on results and the documentation of effects. It also examines the relationship between programme Management Information System and rigorous evaluation and the institutional factors encouraging or retarding BRAC’s focus on results measurement and the development of a positive institutional culture. Specifically, BRAC RED focuses on the method that is best suited for each context and frequently conducts research using mixed methodology, with a good blend of qualitative and quantitative research. This has been understood from the beginning, but has also been borne out by experience throughout BRAC’s development. © 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Source

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