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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Bangladesh Priorities: Community Clinics, Huque

The research, by economist Rumana Huque of the University of Dhaka, considers treating diabetes and addressing smokeless tobacco consumption.  

Diabetes is associated with hypertension and related cardiovascular complications. Eleven percent of men and women over age 35 in Bangladesh have diabetes, and an additional 25 percent have pre-diabetes. Most are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. The proposal suggests screening for the disease at community health clinics, at a cost of less than 400 takas per person, and then referring detected cases to hospitals for further care. Treatment of detected cases costs significantly more than screening—about Tk 4,000 per person per year —but will considerably improve patient quality of life and avoid productivity losses associated with disabilities. Overall, these absolute benefits would equal Tk 33.3 billion (Tk 3,328 crore),  and each taka spent would do about 3 takas of social good.

Huque also further investigates tobacco use, examining smokeless products in particular, which are used by 28 percent of Bangladeshi adults. Smokeless tobacco use is much more prevalent among women, because there is not the same stigma associated with it as with smoking. The analysis proposes building awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco to decrease its use, and to provide subsidized nicotine substitutes to wean people off of smokeless tobacco products. The research finds that each taka of spending on these efforts would provide about 9 takas in benefits