BSS-44 Coastal, haor regions are exposed to higher malnutrition: Experts




Coastal, haor regions are exposed to higher malnutrition: Experts

DHAKA, July 23, 2018 (BSS) – Bangladesh has progressed significantly in
food production in the last couple of years but the malnutrition rate is
still higher in coastal and wetland (haor) areas as 46.6 per cent children
living in the region are suffering from stunting.

Speakers including nutrition experts said this while addressing a
concluding seminar titled ‘Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in
Bangladesh,’ at the BRAC centre here this morning.

The malnutrition rate is higher in the haor and coastal region compared to
other areas of the country due to water logging, salinity and other
individual geographic reasons, they said at the programme jointly organized
by Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA), an
international research partnership and BRAC funded by UK Aid.

“In haor and coastal regions malnutrition rate among children is 46.6 per
cent while it is 30.9 per cent in other areas of the country,” said Barnali
Chakraborty, Senior Research Fellow of Research and Evaluation Division of

On the other hand, the rate of underweight children in the haor areas is
44.5 per cent while it is 34.1 per cent in the other areas of the country,
she said, adding, the research found that there is a strong interrelation
between crop diversity, diet diversity and nutritional outcomes. It was found
that number of people with malnutrition will decrease with the increased
production of diet-diverse and nutrition-rich food items.

With BRAC Executive Director Dr Imran Matin, the seminar was also
addressed by Additional Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Md Fazle Wahid
Khondaker as the chief guest while Director of the Institute of Public Health
and Nutrition under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Dr Samir Kanti
Sarker spoke as special guest at the seminar.

Former Director of BRAC Professor Abdul Bayes gave the welcome address in
the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, senior nutritionist of the FAO Dr Lalita
Bhattacharjee said, “Along with policy formulation, the government has
revitalized the Bangladesh National Nutrition Council with Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina as its Chairperson. This would significantly improve the
nutrition outcome process in the country.”

There is no deficiency of micro-nutrient in the country as the country has
sufficient cereal production, said Dr Samir Kanti Sarker. “Now we are
concentrating on increasing macro-nutrient by enriching bio-fortification in
food,” he added.

The government has given priority to uplift the nutrition status of the
people, said Fazle Wahid Khondaker, a number of ministries and organizations
are working on nutrition, he added.

Home stead gardening, school gardening, round the year fruit cultivation,
fish, poultry and livestock are getting importance to provide nutritional
support to the people, said the official.

At the seminar a synthesis of LANSA research studies was presented by
Barnali Chakraborty, Senior Research Fellow of BRAC’s Research and Evaluation
Division. Dr. Lalita Bhattacharjee. Senior Nutritionist of FAO presented a
paper on Agriculture and Nutrition: Lessons learned from FAO Projects on Food
based nutrition strategies. Besides, Dr. Mahfuza Rifat, Programme Head of
Health, Nutrition and Population Programme of BRAC presented a paper on
Nutrition Interventions of BRAC.

BSS/ASG/OG/ARS/1921 hrs