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Governance for Urban Health Equity: Mobilizing Demand for Primary Health Care among the Urban Poor in Bangladesh

The growth of urban slums in Bangladesh is creating a crisis in healthcare delivery. New research will identify opportunities to improve health care for the urban poor and involve communities more meaningfully in health governance. Rapid urbanization in developing countries is increasing pressure on cities to deliver public services, particularly in large urban slums. In Bangladesh, administrators of large cities are facing a governance crisis as they struggle to address the health needs of their citizens. Discord among the various levels of authority responsible for providing health services is having a negative effect on service delivery and creates confusion about the oversight and stewardship roles of municipal authorities. A plethora of non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders are also involved in delivering health services, compounding the situation. Addressing this governance crisis will be paramount to improving service delivery for slum residents and to redressing inequities in urban infrastructure and access to services in Bangladesh. This project will assess the current context, challenges, and opportunities around urban health governance and the delivery of primary health care to slum populations in Bangladesh. It will examine governance structures and identify opportunities to improve delivery of care. It will map the stakeholders involved in service delivery; engage community members with other stakeholders, particularly government, to develop policies and programs that respond to the needs of the urban poor; identify promising strategies for mobilizing communities around primary healthcare services; and strengthen the capacity of municipal authorities in urban governance and health equity. One expected outcome of this research is increased networking and engagement among all the actors involved in governing urban health in Bangladesh. The project will also foster greater involvement of communities in urban governance. Research findings will be communicated through several publications, including reports, policy briefs, and articles in scientific journals. In addition, the project will contribute to a local community of practice around urban health equity in Bangladesh.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Qamar Mahmood
Total Funding
CA$ 680,200.00
Maternal and Child Health
Maternal and Child Health
Institution Country
Project Leader
Sabina Rashid
The BRAC University



Urban health symposium : taking action for healthy cities in Bangladesh - full report