Open Access Open Badges Research article

An assessment of the quality of care for children in eighteen randomly selected district and sub-district hospitals in Bangladesh

Dewan ME Hoque1*, Muntasirur Rahman1, Sk Masum Billah1, Michael Savic1, AQM Rezaul Karim1, Enayet K Chowdhury1, Altaf Hossain2, SAJ Md Musa2, Harish Kumar3, Sudhansh Malhotra4, Ziaul Matin6, Neena Raina4, Martin W Weber5 and Shams El Arifeen1

Author Affiliations

1 International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), 68 Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Sarani; Mohakhali, Dhaka, 1212, Bangladesh

2 Directorate General of Health Services, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh

3 World Health Organization, Country Office, Dhaka, Bangladesh

4 World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi, India

5 World Health Organization, Country Office, Jakarta, Indonesia

6 UNICEF, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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BMC Pediatrics 2012, 12:197  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-197

Published: 26 December 2012



Quality hospital care is important in ensuring that the needs of severely ill children are met to avert child mortality. However, the quality of hospital care for children in developing countries has often been found poor. As the first step of a country road map for improving hospital care for children, we assessed the baseline situation with respect to the quality of care provided to children under-five years age in district and sub-district level hospitals in Bangladesh.


Using adapted World Health Organization (WHO) hospital assessment tools and standards, an assessment of 18 randomly selected district (n=6) and sub-district (n=12) hospitals was undertaken. Teams of trained assessors used direct case observation, record review, interviews, and Management Information System (MIS) data to assess the quality of clinical case management and monitoring; infrastructure, processes and hospital administration; essential hospital and laboratory supports, drugs and equipment.


Findings demonstrate that the overall quality of care provided in these hospitals was poor. No hospital had a functioning triage system to prioritise those children most in need of immediate care. Laboratory supports and essential equipment were deficient. Only one hospital had all of the essential drugs for paediatric care. Less than a third of hospitals had a back-up power supply, and just under half had functioning arrangements for safe-drinking water. Clinical case management was found to be sub-optimal for prevalent illnesses, as was the quality of neonatal care.


Action is needed to improve the quality of paediatric care in hospital settings in Bangladesh, with a particular need to invest in improving newborn care.

Quality of care; Hospitals; Child health; Bangladesh