Why development matters for health systems: Lessons from Bangladesh

Watch/Listen Again Friday 14 March 2014 13:00 to 14:30
IDS Convening Space

Among its immediate neighbours, Bangladesh has the highest life expectancy (68.3 years), the lowest infant mortality rate (42 per 1000 live births) and one of the lowest maternal mortality ratios (194 per 100 000 live births).

These health indicators show the remarkable progress that Bangladesh has made since the country's independence in 1971, and all despite relatively low public health expenditure and a significant gap in human resources – there is an estimated lack of around 800 000 doctors and nurses.

This apparent paradox is the focus of a recent six-part series in The Lancet that will be launched in the UK at this event. But while Bangladesh may be seen as a ‘global health paradox’, this event argues that a development lens helps explain this apparent mystery. The event will explore how traditional developmental pillars, such as gender equality and poverty reduction and new types of relationship between government, NGOs and the private sector, have contributed to these impressive health gains.


  • Hilary Standing, Emeritus Professor and Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies


  • Mushtaque Chowdhury, Vice Chair and Interim Executive Director of BRAC
  • Abbas Bhuiya, Deputy Executive Director of icddr,b
  • Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet


Watch the livestreamed event

Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 9RE