Health Desk: 28 March 2018: Malnutrition has been on the rise in Bangladesh, with the number of malnourished people increasing by 700,000 over the last 10 years. The UN report found that, as of 2017, at least 2.5 crore people in Bangladesh are malnourished.
Speakers discuss the upward trend of malnutrition in Bangladesh at a seminar titled 'Food Situation and Right to Food for Women and Girls' at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Women and girls in Bangladesh are more affected by the rising trend of malnutrition than their male counterparts, according to a UN study.
The report, which was launched on September 15, 2017, was jointly prepared by UN agencies Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), and World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the WFP, around 50% of the girl child population in the country suffers from malnutrition. 35% of those affected are underweight.
According to Unicef, as backward views and social prejudice are still dominant in society, women – especially in poverty-affected families – are encouraged to eat less food than necessary in order to keep the babies’ weight lower than normal in hopes of avoiding more expensive cesarean deliveries.
According to FAO, Bangladesh has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.
Addressing the seminar on Tuesday as a special guest, Quazi Rowshan Akter, director general of the Department of Women Affairs, said the notion that the male members of a family should get a bigger share of food is still strongly present in a major part of Bangladeshi society.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam, however, said malnutrition among women and girls was on the decline in the country.“The government has taken many initiatives to protect the right to food for women and girls, and it will be extended further if this government assumes power again. We want to ensure food security from the beginning of production to the food table,” he added.
Mohshin Ali, general secretary of RFB, moderated the programme while Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh; Sakeb Nabi, country director of Christian Aid; and Prof Mahbuba Nasrin of Dhaka University, spoke, among others.