In Bangladesh, the Council conducts research and works with the government, NGOs, and the private sector to increase use of reproductive health services, expand the contraceptive method mix, reduce sexual and gender-based violence, improve maternal and child health, and reduce adolescent fertility and help girls delay marriage. Council research results also inform national reproductive health programs and priorities, with a focus on strengthening the capacity of the government, NGOs, and the private sector to deliver high-quality services to people in remote or otherwise underserved areas. We began our work in Bangladesh in the mid-1960s and opened an office in Dhaka in 1990.
In the 1970s, the Council evaluated the landmark Matlab experiment that demonstrated the success of high-quality voluntary family planning programs. The program expanded access by providing home visits, a wide array of contraceptive choices, and follow-up care to women in their homes. The impact was large and immediate: contraceptive use increased markedly, fertility declined rapidly, and women’s health, household earnings, and use of preventive health care improved. The success of the program led the government of Bangladesh to adopt the Matlab model as its national family planning strategy.
The Council has also provided evidence and technical assistance to introduce emergency contraception into the national family planning program, integrate reproductive health services for men at rural service-delivery centers, provide life-saving obstetric care to poor women through vouchers, introduce performance-based incentives in the public sector to improve maternal and child health services, and provide mentoring to improve financial literacy among underprivileged adolescent girls.