Although malnutrition and nutritional disorder is very common, many people in Bangladesh do not have the knowledge about locally available food to meet their nutritional demand. Many people believe the misconception that nutrition is all about rich foods.
The level of education and access to information on nutrition is extremely low. There is an urgent need to increase awareness and disseminate information on tackling malnutrition and under nutrition with locally available foods — and a National Nutrition Week can be a good initiative!
More then 75 percent of the children under five years of age are having some degree of malnutrition. Around 70 percent children and mother have Iron deficiency anemia. Some are having both micro and macro nutrient deficiency. Though poverty is a problem in our country but most of these deficiencies are not due to poverty, it is due to lack of awareness, ignorance, carelessness, hygienic problem etc.
If we observe National Nutrition Week every year, we can introduce mass media campaign on nutrition and disseminate the nutrition related messages to all throughout the week.
Campaign with participation of school and madrasa teachers, Imams, heath workers, caregivers, NGO workers, nutritionists, allied/related organisations and others related to it would obviously stimulate the people to think of nutrition.
Like many countries, our government can take initiatives to start observing National Nutrition Week. This is high time to start such a campaign. I believe, it will certainly help build a healthy nation.
The writer is a Professor of Paediatrics, Community Based Medical College (CBMC), Mymensingh.
Source: The Daily Star, April 30, 2011