Dhaka, Mar 27: Within a span of three years, household food insecurity has fallen by over two-thirds in Bangladesh, according to a report revealed here today.
The report titled "State of Food Security and Nutrition in Bangladesh-2014 food insecurity has reduced to less than a quarter of household in 2014 from over two thirds in 2011.
The National Food Security Nutritional Surveillance Project (FSNSP) launched the report at The James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH) of BRAC University.
The JPGSPH, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and the Helen Keller International (HKI) are jointly implementing the FSNSP.
State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan, Secretary of Statistics and Information Division Kaniz Fatema, Country Director of HKI Dr Meredith Jackson-de Graffenried and Director (Research) of JPGSPH, among others, addressed the report launching function with BBS Director General Dr Md Abdul Wazed in the chair.
Mannan said the government has attached its top priority to build a healthy nation to transform Bangladesh into an economically developed country.
He described nutrition as an important component for maintaining good health of people and it should be incorporated in development programmes to boost socioeconomic progress in the country.
At the technical session, senior analysis officer of HKI Jillian L Waid, Project Coordinator of FSNSP Dr Sabiha Sultana and Deputy Programme Manager of National Nutrition Services (NNS) Dr AK Azad made separate presentations on the reports.
Nutritionists, health professionals and representatives from different local and international organization, among others, joined the open discussion.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in Bangladesh-2014 said Bangladesh sustained an upward trajectory in advancing food security and nutrition alongside other areas of economic and social development. Food security status improved from 2013 while child nutrition indicators remained unchanged, it added.
Highlighting overall pictures of water, sanitation and hygiene, the report said Bangladesh has made tremendous improvement in providing improved drinking water and toilet facilities throughout the country.
In her presentation, Dr Sabiha said although Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in providing safer drinking water and improved toilet facilities to its people, the country is reeling from poor hand washing behavior as less than five percent people use soap before preparing or having their meals. "We have observed that hand washing behavior has remained unchanged and we need massive cultural change for improved hand washing practices," she added.
Jillian said Bangladesh has improved all indicators of food security and nutritional status in the past couple of years and it must redouble its efforts for improving trend of food security as well as nutrition.
Since 2010, sizeable decline in rates of childhood stunting have occurred, the report said adding stunting rate under five children has come down to 35 percent in 2014 from 45 percent in 2010.
Despite relatively better economy, Sylhet division is still low performing division in almost all indexes of nutrition compared with its other counterparts, other speakers said adding that the government should focus on vulnerable pockets including haor and char areas to address malnutrition problem in the country, according to BSS.-bz