Bangladesh is one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world. Two in ten people live on less than $1.25 a day (defined as extreme poverty).
Bangladesh has a land area similar to England and Wales but holds three times the population. This high population density contributes to poor living standards and the spread of disease.
The geography of Bangladesh makes the country highly prone to natural disasters.
Each year two thirds of the country suffers from flooding, killing thousands and cutting many off from essential health services.
Half the population of Bangladesh live at risk of lymphatic filariasis. Mosquitos, which carry the disease, breed in wet and flooded areas, increasing the risk of infection.
Almost 3,200 people were diagnosed with leprosy in 2016, 5% of which are children.
Bangladesh is poorly equipped to respond to these health issues. There is a serious shortage of health workers with just three doctors and three nurses per 10,000 people, compared to 28 doctors and 88 nurses in the United Kingdom.
We work in four of the poorest districts in the north west of the country, Bogra, Sirajgong, Pabna and Natore, where neglected diseases have devastating effects on people’s livelihoods and quality of living.
In 2017 we extended our services to also cover the districts of Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram and the eastern districts of Sylhet, Maulvibazar, Habiganj and Sunamganj.
These rural districts lack essential health services leaving people trapped in a cycle of poverty and ill health.
In 2019, we launched our Mental Motivators pilot project in Bangladesh. We have trained 30 people, across four districts, to act as mental health advocates and supports for those struggling with leprosy and lymphatic filariasis.
Mental Motivators act as both a counsellor and a signpost, directing people to further supports and helping people deal with their diagnoses.
With more than half of people with newly diagnosed cases of leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF) developing anxiety or depression, our Mental Motivators project provides an important service to improve the mental health and quality of life of up to 10,000 families.
Read about how we're trying to help improve livelihoods for the children, women and men in Bangladesh with our projects.