To understand the impact that Covid-19 is having on Bangladesh, it is important to recognize that Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated places in the world.
Bangladesh has a population of 160 million people while Australia has approximately 25 million. Bangladesh is roughly 52 times smaller in landmass compared to Australia with 134.6 million more people living within that area.
Bangladesh has long struggled with poverty, making it extremely susceptible to infectious disease. The country’s public health system has only 432 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds for the entire population, with an additional 737 beds in private hospitals. Distribution is also uneven, as nearly 70% of these are in the Dhaka division.
As of August 12, 2020, Bangladesh reported 263,503 confirmed cases of Covid-19 within its borders and 3,471 deaths from the disease. The available data is likely very incomplete due to relatively low rates of testing.
More than the disease itself, however, the broader impacts of the pandemic have been particularly severe in Bangladesh. The economic situation was already precarious for a lot of people: only 15% of the country’s population make over 4.84 GBP a day, and 87% of work is limited to the informal sector.
Many in Bangladesh were already unable to feed their families, and the sudden and sharp drop in economic activity leaves millions more without enough income to feed their families.
To read more about the devastating humanitarian impact of Covid-19 in Bangladesh, please see these following reports:
World Economic Forum: “In Bangladesh, Covid-19 threatens to cause a humanitarian crisis” (April 6, 2020)
- Dhaka Tribune: “Covid-19 in Bangladesh: A cruel choice between hunger and disease” (May 4, 2020)
World Food Programme Insight: “Facing the coronavirus in Bangladesh” (May 6, 2020)