The Canadian Journal of Undergraduate Research
This study centers on the 2015 “Millennium Development Goals,” (MDGs) a historic United Nations initiative aimed at bridging many of the world’s inequalities. Since its conclusion, the success of the project has been hotly debated, as progress at the international level was markedly uneven. In order to ensure the success of future initiatives, it is necessary to determine why these goals failed so decisively in some contexts but succeeded in others. Given the innumerable nations involved in the project, the scope of the essay was narrowed to focus on a single country and MDG goal. This study centers on the improbable attainment of the fourth development goal (pertaining to neonatal and newborn health) in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries. Using official UN documents, seminal literature, and consultation with crucial UN actor Uzma Syed herself, this study demonstrates that Bangladesh’s success was a result of efficient programming, data acquisition, and transnational, individual, and domestic cooperation. This allowed a small nation like Bangladesh to significantly reduce its under-five and infant mortality rates, illustrating that it is, in fact, possible to enact meaningful change in difficult circumstances. Following the conclusion of the initiative, the country has decided to maintain child survival as a government health priority, as inequalities between populations persist. According to former secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, a continued, strategic focus on under-fives is imperative, with a particular emphasis on the structural and social determinants of health. Looking, now, toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Bangladesh’s triumph can be used to build a framework for continued progress in the realms of child and neonatal health.