Bangladesh: Protecting and Promoting Food Security and Nutrition for Families and Children in Bangladesh
Specifically, the programme sought to reduce underweight and malnutrition in children 6-59 months and acute malnutrition in pregnant and lactating women through homestead food production, in-kind food transfers, community based management of acute malnutrition, school feeding and gardening and strengthening food security and nutrition information systems.
The programme's targeting of agricultural, health and educational inputs in particularly vulnerable coastal areas of southern Bangladesh resulted in an almost total elimination of young child wasting in program areas, a significant but smaller reduction in malnutrition among pregnant and lactating women, and significant improvements in household food security.·
The prevalence of severe acute malnutrition in children under age 5 fell to zero from initial prevalence rates of between 2.12% and 0.89%, rising subsequently only to 0.02% and 0.04%. Moderate acute malnutrition fell from between 9 and 11% to 1% with rare occasions of relapse. Malnutrition in pregnant and lactating women using mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) tapes fell less sharply – from 7.0% to 5.1%.
The programme also improved household food consumption. The percentage of households in program areas with gardens increased more than four-fold, and the percentage of household income derived from gardens and poultry increased more than three times, from 2.7% at baseline to 9.3% at end line. The percentage of households consuming eggs or meat on the day previous to the survey more than doubled (from 20.4% to 44.1%), while the percentage consuming a milk product increased significantly from 16.8 to 24.7%.
Monitoring of the school program found significant increases in both enrollment and attendance.
The initiative improved nutrition and food security-related data and information and produced an important health/nutrition assessment of urban slums in the country, a valuable mapping exercise and studies on women’s empowerment and MUAC. It also permitted the development of an integrated database likely to be useful in future multi-sectoral pursuits.
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The Joint Programme in action
JOINT PROGRAMME QUICK FACTS
- Initial data indicates a decrease in the prevalence of overall acute undernutrition among children 6-59 months as a result of programme initiatives.
- The focus of the programme on community clinics has resulted in regular services being available at these facilities, which have treated more than 9000 children and pregnant and lactating women for management of malnutrition.
- 5919 participant families have received technical and material inputs to enhance their food security. The families are also receiving education on improving their dietary diversity by combining food groups and introducing fruits, vegetables, pulses and animal proteins into their diets.