Improving Health and Human Capital in Bangladesh.

Advancing Universal Health Coverage (AUHC) Activity

Project Dates: October 2017 - September 2022
A sustainable, gender-sensitive, pro-poor social enterprise is helping Bangladesh get closer to achieving universal health coverage.

Bangladesh has recently made remarkable improvement in population health outcomes, reducing maternal, infant, and under-five mortality rates. Despite these achievements, however, the health system in Bangladesh struggles to provide quality, affordable health services to its population, particularly the poor. Smiling Sun — the world’s largest NGO network of maternal and child health clinics — offers an attractive platform for advancing the Bangladeshi government’s commitment to universal health coverage. Through the USAID Advancing Universal Health Coverage (AUHC) Activity, the Smiling Sun Network will transform into the Surjer Hashi Network, a centrally managed, sustainable, private social enterprise that provides millions of people with high-quality primary care. AUHC is introducing innovative business and operational models, creating research-based health service packages for the poor, and experimenting with new health service delivery channels. Developing a robust research agenda, AUHC also monitors the impact of new systems and processes on advancing universal health coverage. This new model of health service delivery will catalyze new players in Bangladesh’s health industry and inspire other health service providers to replicate the innovations modeled by the Surjer Hashi Network.

Project Goals


  • Develop and implement a program to transform the Smiling Sun Network into a centrally managed, sustainable private social enterprise
  • Improve the quality of health care in Bangladesh
  • Adopt innovative approaches to expand access to and uptake of essential service packages
  • Develop and implement sustainable financial systems to facilitate expanded coverage and ensure equitable access to health services