Flood control embankments contribute to the improvement of the health status of children in rural Bangladesh

J. A. Myaux, M. Ali, J. Chakraborty, A. De Francisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Every year, Bangladesh experiences major floods that inundate about one- third of the country. Therefore, flood control projects that comprise earthen dikes and irrigation/drainage systems are built along the major rivers to protect the people living in low-lying areas, stabilize the river banks and improve agricultural productivity. However, the adverse effects of these projects are regularly emphasized, such as environmental degradation and reduction of fishing supplies. The Demographic Surveillance System of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) was used to assess the effect of a flood control programme on the mortality of 04-year-old children residing in the Matlab study area. Adjusted mortality rates were used in comparing four adjacent child populations residing either inside or outside a flood-control embankment and according to the type of health services provided in this area. Between the periods 1983-86 and 1989- 92, the crude child mortality in the total study area decreased by 37%, from 185.9 per 1000 live births to 117.9 per 1000 live births. Following the construction of the embankment, death rates outside were up to 29% higher in 1-4-year-old children and 9% higher for 0-4-year age group compared to the flood-protected area (P < 0.001). Simultaneously, in the same study area, health interventions contributed to a 40% reduction in mortality among children less than 5 years of age in all causes of deaths (P < 0.001). Migration patterns and the effect of distances to the hospital are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-539
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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