Terming malnutrition as a national problem, speakers at a discussion have emphasised taking necessary steps for its solution, saying it would not be possible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 unless the problem is addressed.
A huge number of people in urban slums and Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT) region as well as garment workers are suffering from stunting and anaemia problems, which is hampering their health, the speakers said mentioning that SDG-3 calls for ensuring good health and well-being of people.
They made the remarks while addressing a roundtable titled ‘SDG: Advancing food and nutrition commitments’ at the Dainik Prothom Alo office at Karwan Bazar in the capital on Thursday.
The speakers also said malnutrition costs Tk 7,000 crore in lost economic productivity in Bangladesh each year and suggested nutrition-sensitive approach and investment from the private sector in food and agriculture.
They also sought political commitment to ensure nutritious foods for all.
The discussants called for multi-sectoral approach, proper coordination among different departments and ministries and diversification of food to fight malnutrition.
They highlighted the need to improve the status of nutrition and food safety in the upcoming 8th Five-Year Plan, because nutrition and healthy food is the foundation for a productive and healthy workforce, which is the key for Bangladesh to succeed as a middle-income country.
Bringing positive change to the food systems and nutrition sector will definitely have a positive impact on the health and well-being of people, they observed.
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Daily Prothom Alo jointly organised the event.
Mujibul Haque, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment, attended the programme as the chief guest.
Moderated by Dr Lawrence Haddad, executive director of GAIN, the event was addressed among others by Harry Verweij, Netherland’s Ambassador to Dhaka; Zakir Hossain Akanda, member (secretary) of Ministry of Planning; Dr Shah Newaz, director general of Bangladesh National Nutrition Council; SM Mustafizur Rahman, line director of Institute of Public Health Nutrition; Richard Ragan, country representative, WFP; and Robert Simpson, country representative of, FAO.