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Country performs better in hunger reduction

Published : Saturday, 19 October, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 844

Country performs better in hunger reduction

Country performs better in hunger reduction

The Global Hunger Index 2019 has recently been published. Though Bangladesh is ahead of India and Pakistan in the index, but there is hardly any reason to become complacent. Bangladesh's position yet remains within the 'serious' category (20.0-34.9), even though it is not within 'alarming' (35.0-49.9) or 'extremely alarming' (50-) categories. In South Asia, Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are in better positions. The index list is prepared on the basis of four indicators such as undernourishment, child stunting, and child wasting and child mortality. Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe jointly produce the GHI Index to track hunger levels around the world.

According to the point index, Bangladesh's position is 88 out of 117 qualifying countries with a score 25.8, Pakistan 94 with a score 28.5 and India 102 with a score 30.3, Nepal 73 with the score 20.8, Myanmar 69 with the score 19.8 and Sri Lanka 66 with the score17.1. Previously India's performance of reducing hunger was appreciative, but this time the nation's poor performance has taken South Asian region below the Sub Saharan countries. Barring Myanmar and Sri Lanka where 'moderate' hunger is prevailing, South Asia's condition as whole is 'serious'.

So, fighting hunger is a major challenge in this region, but it is sad that leaders of these countries do not seem to bother about it. To reduce hunger and poverty in the region, collective efforts are needed. But it is sad that SAARC that was founded with great promise for the region remains in a dysfunctional state. Since success in this area can be achieved with robust economic growth and attention to "nutrition-sensitive" sectors such as education, sanitation, and health, combined efforts through SAARC and other regional bodies would do better.

Before the Global Hunger Index 2019, the World Bank had revealed that, one in four persons in Bangladesh are still living below the poverty line. Over the decades, Bangladesh has achieved significant progress in reducing poverty, thanks to the growth of garments industries that have employed a huge number of poor rural women as the workforce. It is risky for a country's economy to depend only on a single sector. Bangladesh must create a sector where it can fall back in times of crisis. For this a pro-poor economic policy is urgently needed.

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