Bangladesh rolls out a new action plan to combat malnutrition

Facing severe problems of malnutrition, particularly in children, Bangladesh has rolled out a new action plan to combat the menace.

Nurul Islam
Published : 13 August 2017, 07:35 PM
Updated : 13 August 2017, 07:50 PM

Some 36 percent children under-five are too short for their height or stunted and 33 percent are underweight, according to latest study that recommends strong multi-sectoral approach to break this cycle for a healthy generation.

Keeping this in mind, Bangladesh National Nutrition Council (BNNC) with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair approved the 2nd National Plan of Action on Nutrition (NPAN) 2016-2025 on Sunday.

Its goal is to improve the nutritional status of all citizens and reduce all forms of malnutrition, with a focus on children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

“It's a multi-sectoral plan to improve overall nutrition situation of Bangladesh,” said Dr Iftekhar Rashid, Health Systems Strengthening Team Lead in USAID, “It is developed in alignment with the recently approved National Nutrition Policy.”

“The key stakeholders were involved in the development of the plan,” Dr Rashid, a core committee member to finalise the plan, told

“This plan will guide different sectors/ministries of the government and development partners to tailor their programmes that will help to improve nutritional status of the people, especially women and children,” he said about the public benefits of the plan.

The plan was the result of a robust national collaborative process and led to the inclusion of nutrition in the individual ministries and other stakeholders’ priorities.

It comprises sets of nutrition specific and sensitive public policies and direct actions in an array of sectors including health, education, agriculture, fisheries and livestock, environment, social protection, women empowerment, and disaster management.

One of the key elements of the new plan is the enhanced monitoring mechanism.

This plan is also a step towards reflecting Bangladesh’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, Scaling up Nutrition, Second International Conference on Nutrition and World Health Assembly.

On Apr 23, 1975, President Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ordered the formation of a Bangladesh National Nutrition Council.

A year after the Awami League came to power in 1996, the government made the first national nutrition action plan.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare coordinated the formulation of the second plan with support from World Health Organisation Bangladesh Country Office, among others.