Health Desk—October 24, 2017: Experts at a roundtable in the capital on Monday said talking about nutrition only is not enough to ensure nutrition of adolescent girls and women in Bangladesh. Empowerment of women and change in attitudes of males are also very important.
Investment of not only money, but giving time and attention is important to dispel the persisting problem of malnutrition among women and adolescent girls in the country, they added.
The roundtable was jointly organised by Prothom Alo and Nutritional International - Bangladesh, at the Prothom Alo office in the capital.
Chief guest at the roundtable, health minister Mohammad Nasim, said most of the adolescent girls and women, including the readymade garments workers, have been suffering from acute malnutrition.
Nasim requested the journalists to write about inadequate allocations for the health sector in the national budget. “How long will we depend on foreign donations?”
Special guest Simin Hossain Rimi MP, said, “Child marriage is closely connected with the nutrition problem. Besides, scenarios are different in towns and villages. There is a gender-based difference in cases of investment in nutrition sector. Male children get more nutritious food than the female ones.”
Speaking at the occasion, Alive and Thrive’s Bangladesh country manager Zeba Mahmud said, “According to our culture, good women always try to sacrifice for their family members. But, women need to focus on themselves as well. Family members also need to change their attitude towards women.”
Nutrition International's regional director for Asia Andrew O'Connell said, “Wise investment is more necessary than more investment. We are not asking for new or huge investment, rather $1 per annum per capita. This is affordable. According to Copenhagen Consensus, every dollar invested will bring results worth of $19.”
Nutrition International president and CEO Joel Spicer, nutrition International - Bangladesh country director Zaki Hasan, director of institute of public health nutrition and line director of MCRAH ABM Muzharul Islam, ICDDRB’s associate scientist Sabrina Rasheed, chief nutrition officer of BIRDEM Hospital Khaleda Khatun, Dhaka University’s nutrition and food science institute director professor Nazma Shaheen, DGFP director general Kazi Mustafa Sarwar, and BRAC’s head of health, nutrition and population programme Mahfuza Rifat also addressed the roundtable, among others.
Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Qayyum moderated the roundtable.