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Long-term Effects of Health and Development Interventions in Rural Bangladesh

Map of Matlab, Bangladesh

This project explores the long-term, multigenerational effects of randomized interventions in mother and child immunization, disease outreach and family planning introduced in the rural Matlab area of Bangladesh.

Between 1977 and 1989, the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) introduced a block-randomized Maternal and Child Health/Family Planning (MCH/FP) program that produced well-documented improvements in disease mortality and family size over the initial experimental period.

This study and the Matlab field site represent one of the few opportunities in the world to fully understand the social and economic benefits of targeted investments in health and family planning in poor countries and the potential long-term and sustainable impacts of today's widely publicized global disease control efforts.

These interventions and others in poverty alleviation and environmental protection pertain to four of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals.

We will also address the impacts of ongoing improvements in microcredit, education, women's autonomy, irrigation and migration that some have dubbed the "Bangladesh Miracle."

The 1996 Matlab Health and Socioeconomic Survey (MHSS-1) found medium-term improvements in education and cognition among those who benefitted from the interventions.

In 2012, an interdisciplinary team from GHA, the University of Colorado at Boulder, ICDDR,B, Brown University, RAND and Mitra and Associates will collect MHSS-2, which will measure long-term improvements in the health, job and marriage prospects, women's autonomy, and migration associated with the program. The team is also looking at intergenerational effects on the health of children whose parents received the services.  This project is supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging grant R01 AG033713-01A1 and further support from the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).

In 2014, a research team from ICDDR,B and GHA began a study to test the feasibility of scaling-up proven maternal-child health interventions to government health facilities.

Recent Working Papers