1st April, 2009
Two million children aged between six months and five years are suffering acute malnutrition in Bangladesh, according to figures released at the end of March.
A recent survey by the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the Institute of Public Health Nutrition also found that one in four households in the country are affected by food insecurity with as many as 58 per cent of households saying they had insufficient food during the past 12 months.
The survey found that at the end of 2008, food expenditure represented 62 per cent of the total household expenditure, up 10 points on the 2005 figure.
“The proportion of households’ income that is now being spent on food is already higher than in 2005 and the impact of the global financial crisis on the poor is a major concern going forward,” said John Aylieff, WFP Representative in Bangladesh.
The survey found that almost half of the surveyed children aged between six months and five years are too short for their age and as many as 37 per cent of the same children are also underweight.
UNICEF representative Carel de Rooy said the situation of child malnutrition as a “silent emergency”.
More than 10,000 households were surveyed and more than 4,100 children assessed as part of the research, conducted from November last year to January this year.
- DAVID ADAMS