Bangladesh Research Activities
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Implementation Research Project in Bangladesh—Testing Effective Strategies to Expand and Improve Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Nutrition, Reproductive Health/Family Planning and Tuberculosis Services in Bangladesh
While Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, it has made substantial strides in improving the health and health equity of its populations over the past 40 years. Despite this progress, over 45% of the population still live in abject poverty, more than 10 million children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition, the maternal mortality rate remains one of the highest in the region, and projections indicate a 50% rise in Bangladesh’s population in the coming 40 years—straining already at-capacity social services and public health systems. To help address these issues, USAID’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) for Bangladesh aims to scale-up proven interventions that address the health challenges faced by women, newborns, and children. This is needed across the country and to help accelerate health improvements and health sector performance, working in partnership with the government of Bangladesh.
In particular, the GHI strategy for Bangladesh focuses on:
- Reducing under-five mortality by scaling-up and improving the package of low-cost, effective child survival interventions, emphasizing measures to improve newborn health;
- Reducing maternal mortality by scaling-up and improving the quality of a package of effective maternal health interventions;
- Reducing unmet needs for family planning;
- Mainstreaming nutrition interventions across sectors, in conjunction with the Food Security Initiative; and
- Increasing tuberculosis case detection, treatment and cure rates, as well as increasing the diagnosis and management of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and pediatric tuberculosis (TB).
TRAction, with funding from USAID-Bangladesh, will assist the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and other Bangladesh institutions or consortiums in developing and testing models for improving access to and quality of newborn/child health services, maternal health services, population/family planning/reproductive health programs, nutrition programs, and tuberculosis services.
The types of activities funded under the project will include: think tank support to USAID - Bangladesh and the MOHFW; studies to assess programmatic gaps and identify opportunities; studies testing new interventions and approaches to scale them up; targeted dissemination and dialogue on key health issues with civil society, media groups, policy makers and program managers; and capacity-building among key stakeholders in the areas of research, policy analysis, and advocacy.
TRAction has provided the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) with three and a half years of funding to undertake multiple projects addressing these health improvement activities. With participation from the government of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, UNICEF, WHO and other development and private sector partners, the project aims to achieve a number of goals.
The project staff will facilitate regular meetings between policymakers, researchers, and implementers, and evaluate community and facility-based approaches to improving maternal and neonatal health outcomes in low performing and hard-to-reach areas in Bangladesh. They will assess barriers to projects focusing on childhood mortality from pneumonia, strengthen the healthcare system and nutrition interventions, increase the use of long-term and permanent family planning methods, improve tuberculosis care, and analyze cost-effectiveness of the programs. The team will identify potential areas for progress and build support for implementation initiatives from both the community and other institutional partners, in addition to building local research capacity in Bangladesh for performing implementation research and making evidence-based policy decisions.
The project will be structured based on TRAction’s Framework for Implementation Research. First, the project team will assess community needs by bringing together key stakeholders (including Bangladesh policy makers, implementers and researchers) from each of the five technical areas. They will determine whether to organize research around a common intervention (applied in several different locations) or a common location (which would receive programs for all technical areas). Then they will design, deliver, and evaluate the interventions and programs. Ultimately, results on improved implementation methods and their degree of impact will be disseminated to improve the health situation in Bangladesh.