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One in three Bangladeshi children face growth issues

  • Published at 10:04 pm October 23rd, 2018
web-ghiGlobal Hunger Index (GHI)
Minister for Social Welfare Rashed Khan Menon speaks at the launching of 'Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2018' at Krishibid Institution in Farmgate, Dhaka on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 Courtesy

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2018 ranked Bangladesh 86th out of 119 developing world countries surveyed for hunger - a slight improvement on the 88th position recorded last year

Over a third of all children aged under five in Bangladesh face growth development issues due to undernourishment, a leading global report said on Tuesday .

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2018 was launched at an event held by Welthungerhilfe Bangladesh at Krishibid Institution in Farmgate, Dhaka. 

It ranked Bangladesh 86th out of 119 developing world countries surveyed for hunger - a slight improvement on the 88th position recorded last year. 

According to this year's report, 15.2% of the country's population suffers from undernourishment, while 36.1% of children under the age of five face growth development issues.

While Bangladesh has been classified under the "serious" category with a GHI score of 26.1, the figures nevertheless highlight the remarkable progress made by the country in fighting hunger and malnutrition.

In 2000, the GHI score was 36.0 and Bangladesh was listed in the "alarming" category.

The steady decline in the rates of malnourishment, poor growth development and child mortality in recent years has been attributed to rising household income, economic growth and an improved educational background of parents. 

Other factors that played a role include a better health and sanitation system and demographic factors. 

Despite the positive trend, starvation and malnutrition remain pressing issues due to extreme poverty, climate change, and natural disaster induced displacement and migration. 

Hosting nearly a million stateless refugees has also placed a burden on the over-populated country.

"The government should continue to promote inclusive growth and nutrition-sensitive agriculture,” Philippe Dresrüsse, the country representative of Welthungerhilfe Bangladesh, said at Tuesday’s event. 

"It also needs to focus on ensuring maximum food and nutrition for women, and develop multi-sector cooperation on food and nutrition throughout the country.”

The country director of Concern Worldwide, AKM Musha, praised Bangladesh for its “significant progress” in fighting hunger and malnutrition - in spite of the huge challenges. 

"The government should continue to build on its successes and make a concerted effort to guarantee food and nutrition security for the poverty-stricken people with the cooperation of ministries, NGOs, the civil society and private sectors," he said. 

The Global Hunger Index shows that the Central African Republic (CAR) has the highest hunger level of all the countries, and is also the sole country to secure a position under the "extremely alarming" category. 

CAR’s score of 53.7 has increased sharply since 2010, reflecting the severe strain the country is facing due to civil war and a high level of population displacement. 

Despite many areas where hunger and undernutrition are problematically high, the report shows that there has been progress in reducing hunger worldwide, with the global GHI score falling from 29.2 in 2000 to 20.9 in 2018. 

The GHI, now in its 13th year, ranks countries based on four key indicators: malnourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting. 

The 2018 report ranked 119 countries in the developing world, 52 of which have “extremely alarming”, “alarming” or “serious” hunger levels.

Minister for Social Welfare Rashed Khan Menon attended the event as the chief guest, while Mohammad Mohsin, director general of Agricultural Extension and Mr Md Arifur Rahman Apu, director general of the Directorate of Food, attended as special guests.