Bangladesh to give cash handouts for health checkups
Bangladesh hopes to tackle child malnutrition by paying parents to attend regular health checkups

Bangladesh's government decided Monday to begin providing cash incentives to encourage mothers going through pregnancy or with young children to attend regular health checkups.

The Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Health signed an agreement to implement the 5-year project worth nearly 24 billion Taka ($300 million).

The project, primarily funded by the World Bank, is intended to support at least 600,000 women in seven districts across Bangladesh.

Each mother would be given up to 200 Taka ($2.50) for each of four checkups as well as a monthly stipend until the child reaches the age of 5, to encourage checkups during the child's growth.

Progress has been made in the field of child and maternal nutrition in Bangladesh but problems prevail with more than 40 percent of children under 5-years-old remaining underweight, according to a study published in 2012 by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh.

Dr. Fahmida Tofail, a scientist at the research center, emphasized the importance of meeting a child's nutritional needs in their early years.

"The brain's structure reaches approximately 90 percent of its adult size by the age of 6 years," she said. "So it is of great importance to identify the risk factors during this critical period of vulnerability of the young brain, particularly among children exposed to disadvantageous situations."

"Exposure to malnutrition and the above mentioned risk factors at an early age can seriously affect his or her developmental potential," she said.

She noted that it was in Bangladesh's interest to tackled these issues as they "can finally affect the economic productivity of the nation."

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Last Modified: 2015-03-25 10:15:14
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