Chowdhury, Sadia Afroze

Global Practice on Health, Nutrition and Population, The World Bank
Profile Picture
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Maternal health, Child health, Nutrition, Health systems
Global Practice on Health, Nutrition and Population, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Contact Information
Last updated: January 31, 2023
Dr. Sadia A Chowdhury is currently an independent expert on women and children's health and nutrition and health systems strengthening for the same. As part of the World Bank, she led the World Bank's support for the health systems strengthening projects and population projects in several states of India as also for the National Reproductive and Child Health program. As the organizational lead for Sexual, Reproductive Health including Maternal and Child Health in the Human Development Presidency of the World Bank, she led the development of the World Bank's Reproductive Health Action Plan (2010-2015). Following this she has been the Executive Director of the BRAC Institute of Global Health (BIGH), an institute under BRAC University in Bangladesh.
Citations 142 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Improving Maternal and Reproductive Health in South Asia: Drivers and Enablers
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-11-17) El-Saharty, Sameh; Chowdhury, Sadia
    South Asia Region (SAR) has decreased maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 65 percent between 1990 and 2013, which was the greatest progress among all world regions. Such achievement implores the question, What made SAR stand out against what is predicted by standard socioeconomic outcomes? Improving Maternal and Reproductive Health in South Asia: Drivers and Enablers identifies the interventions and factors that contributed to reducing MMR and improving maternal and reproductive health (MRH) outcomes in SAR. In this study, the analytical framework assumes that improving MRH outcomes is influenced by a multitude of forces from within and outside the health system and considers factors at the household and community levels, as well as interventions in other sectors and factors in the enabling environment. The analysis is based on a structured literature review of the interventions in SAR countries, relevant international experience, and review of the best available evidence from systematic reviews. The focus of the analysis is mainly on assessing the effectiveness of interventions. The findings from this study indicate that the most effective interventions that prevent maternal mortality are those that address the intra-partum stage - the point where most maternal deaths occur - and include improving skilled birth attendance coverage, increasing institutional delivery rates, and scaling up access to emergency obstetric care. There is also adequate evidence that investing in family planning to increase contraceptive use also played a key role during the inter-partum phase by preventing unwanted pregnancies and thus averting the risk of maternal mortality in SAR countries. Outside the programmatic interventions, the levels of household income, women’s education, and completion of secondary education of girls were also strongly correlated with improved MRH outcomes. Also, there is strong evidence that health financing schemes - both demand and supply side - and conditional cash transfer programs were effective in increasing the uptake of MRH services. The study points out to many other interventions with different degrees of effectiveness. The study also identified four major reasons for why SAR achieved this progress in MMR reduction. The best practices and evidence of what works synthesized in this study provide an important way forward for low- and middle-income countries toward achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Publication
    Health and Nutrition in Urban Bangladesh: Social Determinants and Health Sector Governance
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018) Govindaraj, Ramesh; Raju, Dhushyanth; Secci, Federica; Chowdhury, Sadia
    Urbanization is occurring at a rapid pace in Bangladesh, accompanied by the proliferation of slum settlements, whose residents have special health needs given the adverse social, economic, and public environmental conditions they face. Over the past 45 years, the country’s health and nutrition policies and programs have focused largely on rural health services. Consequently, equitable access of urban populations—particularly the urban poor—to quality health and nutrition services has emerged as a major development issue. However, the knowledge base on urban health and nutrition in Bangladesh remains weak. To address the knowledge gap, Health and Nutrition in Urban Bangladesh: Social Determinants and Health Sector Governance examines the health and nutrition challenges in urban Bangladesh—looking at socioeconomic determinants in general and at health sector governance in particular. Using a mixed methods approach, the study identifies critical areas such as financing, regulation, service delivery, and public environmental health, among others that require policy attention. The study also proposes specific actions within and outside the health sector to address the issues, providing guidance on their sequencing and the specific responsibilities of government agencies and other actors. This study should be useful to policy makers and practitioners working on urban health and nutrition issues in Bangladesh and in other low- and middle-income countries.
  • Publication
    Educating for Health : Using Incentive-Based Salaries to Teach Oral Rehydration Therapy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-08) Chowdhury, Sadia
    In Bangladesh an education program aimed at teaching mothers how to prepare and use oral rehydration solution to treat diarrhea relied on output-based incentives to ensure that the teaching was effective. The program tied field workers' pay to fast-cycle feedback on performance against output indicators. Monitoring results show that the approach worked: the mothers learned effectively. Over 10 years the program reached 12 million households.