Bangladesh is one of the top performers in ensuring nutrition and basic medical care, and health and wellness, according to the Social Progress Index 2016 prepared on a study on 133 countries.
Still, Bangladesh was grouped “low social country” as it was ranked 101st because of its weak performance in nine out of 12 components in the ranking, said the Social Progress Imperative, a US-based non-profit behind the rankings.
The country’s score is 52.73. Finland topped the list with a score of 90.09, followed by Canada, Denmark, Australia, and Switzerland.
The Index measures social progress in three broad areas: basic human needs, foundation of well-being and opportunity.
There were 12 components under the broad areas: nutrition and basic medical care; water and sanitation; shelter; personal safety; access to basic knowledge; access to information and communications; health and wellness; and environmental quality; personal rights; personal freedom and choice; tolerance and inclusion; and access to advanced education.
In the basic human needs dimension, Bangladesh performs best on nutrition and basic medical care and has most opportunity to improve on the shelter component. In the foundations of wellbeing dimension, Bangladesh scores highest on access to basic knowledge but lags behind on the environmental quality component.
In the opportunity dimension, Bangladesh is strongest on personal freedom and choice and has the most room for improvement on access to advanced education.
The nutrition and basic medical care has the smallest number of countries which did well and Bangladesh is one of them.
In health and wellness, Bangladesh is also one of the top-performing countries. The top performers here include Japan and Italy.
The 2016 Social Progress Index covers 94 percent of the world’s population.
In South Asia, India and Pakistan have also been grouped in the “low social progress” category and they were ranked 98th and 113rd.
Sri Lanka, ranked 83rd, was the only country in the region included in the lower middle social progress group. Afghanistan, which came in at 132nd, was classified as very low social progress country.
Overall, Bangladesh is an under-performer in components of personal rights, tolerance and inclusion.
In South Asia, Bangladesh is ahead of both India and Pakistan in nutrition & basic medical care, personal safety, health and wellness, and tolerance and inclusion.
Bangladesh is also ahead of Pakistan in access to basic knowledge, access to information and communications.
But the country lags behind India in water and sanitation, shelter, access to basic knowledge, access to information and communications, environmental quality, personal freedom and choice, personal rights, and access to advanced education.
Pakistan is ahead of Bangladesh in water and sanitation, shelter, environmental quality, personal freedom and choice, personal rights and access to advanced education.
While it is easy to look at the amount of wealth countries generate as a measure of how well they are doing, economic markers like gross domestic product (GDP) do not tell the whole story, missing out on things people actually need to enjoy a comfortable life, like healthcare, housing, education, and political freedoms, according to Social Progress Imperative.
“The Social Progress Index proves that GDP is not the destiny,” said Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative.
He said more countries should perform like Costa Rica, which squeezes a lot of social progress out of its modest GDP.
Costa Rica ranked 28th globally and second in Latin America and the Caribbean, just a few spots below Chile at 25th.
The United States came in at 19th place.
Source: Daily Star, Dhaka, Bangladesh