'45m people live under absolute poverty in BD'
Some 45 million people live in absolute poverty and around 40 million are suffering food insecurity while 7.3 million children are stunted in Bangladesh, a country of 160-170 million people.
State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Malek, MP said while speaking as the chief guest at an event organised to launch a report on 'Healthy Diets for All: A Key to Meeting the SDGs' at this year's Global Panel meeting held at a city hotel on Monday.
Speakers at the event said lack of healthy diet puts more people at risk of death and diseases in developing countries than things like air pollution, smoking and drug abuse.
It has been reported that as a result of poor nutrition conditions, there was an estimated 11 per cent drop in GDP of countries across Africa and Asia, according to a press release.
Panel members at the meeting included the Director of BRAC, Health, Nutrition and Population Programme, Dr Kaosar Afsana, Global Panel member Emmy Simmons, Global Panel Technical Advisor Professor Patrick Webb, Department for International Development (DFID) country director Jane Edmondson were also spoke at the meeting,
BRAC, and Global Panel in collaboration with International Food Policy Research Institute and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) hosted this year's meeting in Dhaka on Monday, 20 November, 2017.
The central agenda of the meeting was to engage policymakers at all levels and help them recognise the role of healthy diets in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The report presented six evidence-based recommendations, aimed at policymakers in low and middle-income counties, showing how 'diet quality' can be the key to help them unlock and accelerate progress on meeting their Sustainable Development Goals.
These six areas of focus include - paying attention to diet quality in developing SDG plans; adopting food systems approach to meet the SDGs; focusing on improved diet for infants, young children and women; addressing barriers and shocks impeding access to healthy diets; widening national policy approach to ensure well-functioning food systems; boosting efforts to collect and report data on diet quality.
Zahid Malek MP stated, "Only three-fourths of under two children have access to minimal acceptable diet and 70 per cent of the diets are cereal based."
He said despite few natural calamities and man-made disasters, Bangladesh has maintained its sustained economic growth.
He urge all relevant ministries to act in their own jurisdiction for improved nutrition and healthy diets for all with a multi-sectoral approach, propose a minimal healthy diet affordable to the people, rigorous advocacy and mass campaign for healthy diets, continuous and serious dialogue with commercial markets to make them pro-people, nutrition-sensitive and supportive for healthy population and all stakeholders - government, NGOs, UN and private sectors must work together for community mobilization.