Lessons from Bangladesh in Reducing Child Mortality

Bangladesh — the world’s eighth most populous country with 162 million inhabitants — has made tremendous and inspiring strides in reducing child mortality. This is despite the fact that it is a very poor country, with half the GDP per capita of not-particularly-rich neighbors India and Pakistan.

Less than two decades ago, the rate of death for children under five was 54% higher than the global average — now, it is 16% lower than the world average, and less than even its comparatively wealthier neighbors. Child deaths from diarrhea and other enteric diseases (e.g. those from bacterial contamination of food and drink) have declined a whopping 90%; whereas in 1994, 14% of Bangladesh children in surveyed households had suffered some sort of serious enteric illness, by 2014 that number halved to 7%.

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Fazlur Rahman Khan

Fazlur Rahman Khan was a Bangladeshi structural engineer and architect who has been called the “Einstein of structural engineering” and the Greatest Structural Engineer of the 20th Century. As the “father of tubular designs”, he devised groundbreaking structural systems that still form the basis of skyscraper construction to this day. Indeed, most of the world’s tall buildings would not exist were it not for his innovations, and to this day his work is still used as a starting point for the design of any tall building.