This paper analyses the trends and regional variations in the target achievement of MDG 5 of improving maternal health in Bangladesh. Based on the analysis of secondary data a comparison is made between the rate of progress required for each indicator of the goal to achieve its target by 2015 from 2000, the current rate of progress (between 2000 and 2011) and the rate of progress required between 2011 and 2015 to achieve the targets. The findings suggest a substantial difference among the regions with respect to the adopted indicators of improving maternal health. For example, consistent with the highest and lowest levels of maternal mortality ratio (MMR), the divisions (administrative regions) of Khulna and Sylhet respectively also have the highest and lowest percentages of births delivered in health facilities and assisted by skilled health personnel. However, the second highest percentage of births delivered in a health facility in Chittagong does not accord with its high MMR. This kind of variation reveals that overall improvement in MMR may not necessarily result in complete achievement of the goal of improved maternal health. Rather, there are some gaps and challenges in each region, which need to be addressed and acted upon accordingly. The findings of this paper contribute to knowledge about the persistence of regional inequalities in MDG 5 in Bangladesh, even if the goals are met at the national level. The findings will also be useful in preparing a road map for ensuring the health and wellbeing of all mothers in Bangladesh under the new Sustainable Development Goals.
- Maternal health
- Maternal mortality ratio