United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin announced that over the next five years, UNFPA will donate $70 million to Bangladesh to be used for maternal and reproductive health and to end violence against women. Osotimehin stated, “Healthy and educated people are human capital that helps nations fight poverty and promote development. Leaders should help them invest their energies in their nations’ progress.”
UNFPA declared Bangladesh one if its eight priority countries, where the agency will focus on improving maternal, infant, and child health. Since the 1970s, fertility rates in Bangladesh have dropped dramatically from 6.3 children per woman to approximately 2.5. Moreover, maternal mortality in Bangladesh has decreased by 61 percent in the past 20 years. Although Bangladesh is making the progress necessary to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health, Osotimehin noted that improvements are still necessary to increase health and midwife services for pregnant women, end child marriage, and promote family planning.