Preliminary Results of Bangladesh Urban Health Survey 2013 Released

In response to the rapid growth in urban population, the government of Bangladesh and USAID tasked a research team at icddr,b, based in Bangladesh, and MEASURE Evaluation with conducting a survey designed to obtain a broad health profile of the urban population of Bangladesh. The Urban Health Survey (UHS) 2013 is the second nationally representative survey providing insight into health status and health-seeking behavior in Bangladesh’s cities.

Bangladesh 2013 UHS Event Guest
Guests at the dissemination event pictured from left (front row): Mohammad Ahsanul Alam, National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT); Monzur Hossain, Senior Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives; Robert W. Gibson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh; M. M. Neazuddin, Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW); Dan W. Mozena, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh; Mohammed Nasim, Honorable Minister for the MOHFW; A. M. Badrudduza, Direct General for NIPORT; and Rafiqul Islam Sarkar, Director of Research for NIPORT. Photo courtesy of icddr,b.

In response to the rapid growth in urban population, the government of Bangladesh and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) tasked a research team at icddr,b, based in Bangladesh, and MEASURE Evaluation with conducting a survey designed to obtain a broad health profile of the urban population of Bangladesh.

The Urban Health Survey (UHS) 2013 is the second nationally representative survey providing insight into health status and health-seeking behavior in Bangladesh’s cities. The first UHS took place in 2006. The UHS 2013 was conducted by the National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. MEASURE Evaluation and icddr,b provided technical expertise in the survey undertaking. USAID, the government of Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) provided financial assistance.

A slum mapping exercise was conducted prior to selecting a total sample of roughly 53,000 households for the survey. The preliminary results of UHS 2013 show many health improvements taking place in urban Bangladesh. Fertility is considerably below the replacement level in all urban areas, including the slums, indicating that the national total fertility rate goal of reaching 2.0 births per woman by 2016 has already been achieved in urban areas. Contraceptive use in slum areas (70%) is higher than in non-slum areas (65%). However, antenatal care is still significantly lower in slum areas. In the case of access to electricity and mobile phone use, universal access was observed in all survey domains.

The findings of the survey suggest that intra-urban differentials in most health indicators have narrowed between 2006 and 2013 as a result of concerted public, private, and nongovernmental organization efforts. However, infant and under-five mortality rates continue to be high in slums where child malnutrition persists.

The preliminary survey findings were disseminated at a seminar held October 14, 2014, at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC), in Dhaka. The minister for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare attended, as well as other officials from the ministry, representatives of local government divisions, the U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh, and the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh. More than 200 people from health government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the media participated in the seminar.