Thinking Aloud: Volume IV, Issue 5: October 1, 2017

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This October 2017 issue of Thinking Aloud comes with the theme “Health”. The first article “Challenges for Bangladesh in achieving the Goal 3 of SDGs” indicates that the progress in Bangladesh between 1990 and 2015 in maternal mortality, infant and child mortality and life expectancy was noteworthy. In 2015, Bangladesh’s status was better than India and Pakistan in the cases of child mortality, infant mortality and life expectancy at birth. In the case of maternal mortality, Bangladesh performed better than Pakistan. However, in all these indicators, Bangladesh was considerably lagging behind Sri Lanka, China, and Malaysia. The public health expenditure as the percentage of GDP in Bangladesh is one of the lowest in South Asia, and the share of out-of-pocket health expenditure in total health expenditure in Bangladesh is one of the highest in South Asia. Bangladesh has to increase public health expenditure as the percentage of GDP considerably and make this spending more efficient. Also, efforts need to be in place to deal with growing expectations of the people and to reduce persistent inequalities in the access to better health facilities. The second article titled “How does health affect economic growth?” emphasizes on the links between health and economic growth. A cross-country panel regression analysis for 192 countries for the years 1970-2016 is conducted to explore the association of different health indicators (infant mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio, and real public health expenditure) with economic growth. The fixed effect panel regression results suggest that coefficients of all three health-related indicators are statistically significant with expected signs. The article advocates for increasing public health expenditure and its efficient uses. It is also argued that without significant improvements in infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio, economic growth is bound to be constrained. In this issue, SANEM interviews Dr. Rumana Huque, Professor of Economics at the University of Dhaka. Dr. Huque identifies the major challenges Bangladesh is currently facing in the health sector. The final page draws attention to the events that took place in the month of September.

Link: Thinking Aloud: Volume IV, Issue 5: October 1, 2017