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close this bookDeveloping the non-farm Sector in Bangladesh: Lessons from other Asian Countries (WB, 1996, 116 p.)
close this folderWhat drives growth?
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGross domestic savings (GDS) (as a percentage of GDP).
View the documentGross domestic investment
View the documentForeign direct investment
View the documentPublic finances
View the documentHuman capital
View the documentHealth
View the documentMessage from indicators


An important determinant of the quality of the labor force is access to health services. But this variable is not easy to measure and the data are often unreliable or at best indicative. Statistics on the population with access to health services in Bangladesh suggests that the ratio declined sharply between 1980 and 1988 to just 38 percent before rebounding to 74 percent in 1991 (table 13). In comparison, access in Pakistan rose substantially to 85 percent. Although the absolute percentages probably contain a fair amount of noise, medical services are certainly scarce in Bangladesh. Still, it is difficult to believe that Bangladesh is much worse off then Zambia and Zaire in this respect. Looking at the population per physician balances the picture (table 14). With a ratio of close to 1:7000 between 1986 and 90, Bangladesh is on par with Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Data on health expenditures also points to substantial improvement between 1983 and 1993 although as a percent of GDP it is still modest. The rural population in Bangladesh probably enjoys the same access as that in Indonesia, but in Sri Lanka medical services in smaller towns are better developed.