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The smartest ways to fight non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh

Infectious diseases get all the attention. And for a long time, these diseases were what most people around the world died from. 

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Controlling the Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in Bangladesh:Benefit-cost Analysis of Prevention Policies and Interventions

Benefits and Costs of Controlling the Spread of Tobacco Use, Cervical Cancer and Hypertension in Bangladesh

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Costs and Benefits of Addressing Diabetes and Smokeless Tobacco Consumption via Community Clinics

Benefits and costs of addressing Bangladesh’s NCD burden

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Non-Communicable Diseases

Infectious diseases get all the attention. And for a long time, these diseases were what most people around the world died from. But as we are increasingly beating back infections and live to grow older, we start dying from what doctors call non-communicable diseases (NCDs), like heart disease, strokes, cancer, and diabetes. 

Bangladesh has seen the same pattern. A study of the rural area Matlab showed that from 1986 to 2006, the share of deaths caused by communicable diseases fell from 52 percent to 11 percent. During the same period, deaths from NCDs increased from 8 percent to 68 percent. Today, NCDs are the largest killer nationwide, responsible for 59 percent of all deaths.

Proposed Strategies

Strategy Takas of benefits per taka spent
Hypertension medication 18
Tobacco tax 8
Treat and immunize cervical cancer 0.4
Controlling the Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in Bangladesh:Benefit-cost Analysis of Prevention Policies and Interventions image

Controlling the Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in Bangladesh:Benefit-cost Analysis of Prevention Policies and Interventions

Research written by four eminent American economists examines several strategies to combat non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh. They find that the most cost-effective solutions are those aimed at reducing hypertension and tobacco use.

Bangladesh is in the midst of the epidemiologic transition like other South Asian nations. The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) now account for a larger proportion of foregone disability adjusted life years than communicable disease, maternal and child health issues and nutrition-related causes combined."

- Koehlmoos et al.

Read the full analysis
Costs and Benefits of Addressing Diabetes and Smokeless Tobacco Consumption via Community Clinics image

Costs and Benefits of Addressing Diabetes and Smokeless Tobacco Consumption via Community Clinics

Research by economist Rumana Huque of the University of Dhaka, considers treating diabetes and addressing smokeless tobacco consumption.  

Bangladesh is passing through a period of demographic transition where the burden of disease is shifting alarmingly from a disease profile dominated by infectious diseases to one increasingly characterised by non-communicable diseases (NCDs)."

- Rumana Huque

Read the full analysis
The smartest ways to fight non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh image

The smartest ways to fight non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh

In a series of op-eds published in The Daily Star and Prothom Alo, Bjorn Lomborg outlined the key findings of the path-breaking research produced by the Bangladesh Priorities project.

Bangladesh already has an extensive network of 14,000 community clinics that span the country, and even in rural areas, most homes are within half an hour walking distance of a clinic. This pre-existing infrastructure presents an opportunity to fight NCDs cost-effectively."

- Bjorn Lomborg

Read more in the Daily Star

What do you think?

As this research shows, there are many ways to help combat non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh—and many other issues to tackle beyond them. Where would you choose to spend money if you could decide how to do the most good for Bangladesh? We want you to continue the conversation about how to do the most good for every taka spent by participating in our Facebook poll. 

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