Explaining equity gains in child survival in Bangladesh: scale, speed, and selectivity in health and development

By disaggregating gains in child health in Bangladesh over the past several decades, significant improvements in gender and socioeconomic inequities have been revealed. With the use of a social determinants of health approach, key features of the country’s development experience can be identified that help explain its unexpected health trajectory. The systematic equity orientation of health and socioeconomic development in Bangladesh, and the implementation attributes of scale, speed, and selectivity, have been important drivers of health improvement. Despite this impressive pro-equity trajectory, there remain significant residual inequities in survival of girls and lower wealth quintiles as well as a host of new health and development challenges such as urbanisation, chronic disease, and climate change. Further progress in sustaining and enhancing equity-oriented achievements in health hinges on stronger governance and longer-term systems thinking regarding how to effectively promote inclusive and equitable development within and beyond the health system.

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