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The Population Council Bangladesh conducted the first round of a series of rapid phone-based surveys on COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes, and practices and the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on adolescent girls. The first COVID-19 positive patient in Bangladesh was reported on March 8, 2020. The advent of COVID-19 triggered the closure of all educational institutions. A nationwide “holiday” was declared on March 26, 2020, and a ban was implemented on all passenger travel by water, rail, and air. These restrictions have been partially relaxed, but the disease is spreading rapidly with 28,511 positive cases and 408 deaths as of May 21, 2020. Schools are likely to remain closed through summer. Protracted school closures may increase the risk of school dropout, which would result in wide-ranging lifelong consequences for adolescents. With 59 percent of women marrying before the age of 18, Bangladesh has the highest prevalence of child marriage in Asia; this may increase with COVID-19. This document notes the Council’s plans to assess the impact on girls’ vulnerability to school dropout and explore program efforts that may contribute to protecting girls.






Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic