In Bangladesh, undernutrition is estimated to be the underlying cause of about 60% of childhood deaths
Transform Nutrition in Bangladesh
Our partner in Bangladesh is the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B). Transform Nutrition’s work in Bangladesh is lead by our joint research director Shams El Arifeen. ICDDR,B It is the leading public health and nutrition research organisation in Bangladesh and hosts multidisciplinary scientific research staff from different countries working in close collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, NGOs, and international research institutes and universities.Our Bangladesh country focus handout (PDF) summarises the work of Transform Nutrition in Bangladesh
To facilitate research uptake, ICDDR,B organised a stakeholder mapping event with key partners in January 2012 which was updated in 2015. Partners plotted the principal actors in the nutrition policy environment, drawing links to show their perceptions of the main funding and advice links.
Undernutrition situation in Bangladesh
In 2010, more than 7 million children under-five were stunted, almost 5 million children were underweight and nearly 200,000 were wasted (FSNNSP 2011). Although there has been improvements in underweight prevalence, the current rate of reduction at 1.27 percentage points per year means that we are unlikely to achieve the nutrition target of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 by 2015 (Ahmed et al., 2012).
Programme to address undernutrition
The public health nutrition programme is operated through the Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN), which is managed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh. The role of IPHN is to assist in formulating policy and strategy for nutrition related activities and programmes. It’s role is also to conduct research, training and surveillance. In the current Health Nutrition Population Sector Development Programme (2011-2016), the National Nutrition Service has been designed to mainstream nutrition services into the existing health system.
To ensure collaboration among other nutrition relevant ministries, like agriculture and food, a multisectoral nutrition steering committee has been established. This is headed by the secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In addition, the Nutrition Implementation Coordination Committee has been given the overall responsibility of supervision and monitoring of mainstreaming nutrition activities.
Gaps still evident
Despite IPHN acting as the coordinating agency, gaps are still evident within the policy implementation framework in terms of coordination and oversight in programme execution. This is largely due to a lack of coordination amongst agencies and organisations. Weak coordination has previously resulted in delays in execution, lack of clarity over responsibilities, lack of cross-learning and duplication of programmes and initiatives.
Perceptions on nutrition
A recent stakeholder mapping exercise organised by ICDDR,B unearthed some revealing insights into the perception of nutrition amongst stakeholders in Bangladesh. Nutrition is not generally identified as a priority problem. Also, there is a general lack of understanding on the effect of nutrition from a socio-economic perspective.
Read the Bangladesh_situation_analysis (PDF) prepared for Transform Nutrition.