The Impact of Social and Economic Development Programs on Health and Well-Being: a BRAC-ICDDR,B Collaborative Project in Matlab

This paper studies the impact of BRAC’s socioeconomic interventions on the well-being of the rural poor, especially of women and children. The Matlab field station of ICDDR,B is an area with a population of 200,000, half of whom are recipients of intensive maternal and child health and family planning services. The entire population is part of the Center’s demographic surveillance system where health and occasionally socioeconomic indicators have been collected prospectively since 1966. BRAC decided to start its Rural Development Program (RDP) in Matlab during mid-1992 as a normal course of its expansion. The broad aim of this project is to exploit the fortuitous introduction of a proven integrated social and economic development program into an area that has a highly developed research infrastructure for the collection of information and to try and document the health impact of such interventions. This paper will put special emphasis on (a) impact on the health of the beneficiaries, especially of women and children, fertility and mortality, and nuptiality, (b) mechanisms of influence, including identification (in some instances definition and measurement of variables, such as empowerment and status of women) of intermediate variables, and (b) strategy of delivering development inputs to the poor, especially to women. Experience in Matlab has shown that by appropriate service delivery systems and method-mix, programs like family planning can be successful in the absence of a level of socio-economic development.

Authors: Bhuiya, Abbas; Chowdhury, Mushtaque
Type: Working paper
Year: 1995