People enjoy healthy changes
THE population in Bangladesh can expect a much healthier future.
The Bangladeshi Government has adopted the global strategy of Health for All By the Year 2000 as the national objective, with primary health care the key approach.
The country has 604 government and 270 private hospitals and clinics, as well as 1,330 government rural dispensaries and 2,400 family welfare centres with a total of 32,441 hospital beds.
There are 10 medical colleges in the country and six post-graduate medical institutes.
More than 20,000 registered doctors, 9,455 nurses, 7,713 midwives, 3,459 family welfare visitors, 21,000 health assistants and 235,000 family welfare assistants provide health care for the people.
With a substantial increase in the domestic production of essential drugs, the country has become less dependent on imports.
The production and import of unnecessary and harmful medicines has been banned.
The government has identified the relatively high rate of population growth as the number one national problem and efforts are being made to check population increases by curbing births and improving the health of women and children.
Maternal and child health care-based family planning programmes include prevention and control of diarrhoeal diseases and the expanded programme of immunisation (EPI).
Immunisation coverage has increased from 62 per cent in 1990 to 83 per cent in 1991.
This has contributed greatly to child survival strategies and discouraged a high birth rate.
The Fourth Five-Year Plan (1990-95) aims to reduce the population growth rate of 2.16 per cent to 1.8 per cent annually.
Policy guidelines and directives are given by the National Council for Population Planning.