Improving infant feeding in Bangladesh
February 8, 2012
Dhaka, Bangladesh – 8 February 2012. Today the Government of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare participated in a launch of a project to assess the potential of multiple micronutrient powders to improve optimal infant and young child feeding. The powders are distributed among children 6-23 months old in small packages and sprinkled onto meals prepared at home. Key partners in the study are CARE, PATH and GAIN – the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.
The project is a part of a larger effort to better respond to the nutritional needs of mothers and infants during the 1,000 day window from conception to age two.“I am delighted to see this project launched. CARE Bangladesh is committed to reducing the huge burden of malnutrition among the most marginalized and underserved populations of Bangladesh,” said Nick Southern, Country Director, CARE Bangladesh. "The impact of adequate micronutrient supplementation goes beyond securing nutrition to helping children develop their capacities and eventually breaking the cycle of poverty," added Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, Senior Director, Health and Equity Unit, CARE USA.
Multiple micronutrient powders are given to infants from six months of age in conjunction with breastfeeding and other optimal feeding practices. They were first introduced for sale to the Bangladesh market on a pilot basis through a partnership between Renata Ltd., The Social Marketing Company (SMC), USAID and GAIN in 2007. Since that time, millions of sachets have been sold across the country by Renata, BRAC and SMC and this study will help to sharpen understanding of how their appropriate use can be reinforced for maximum benefit to vulnerable households.
“More than 90 percent of babies 6 to 11 months old in Bangladesh suffer from anemia and only 60 percent receive regular daily meals,” said Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN, who was present at the launch ceremony. “We are pleased to join CARE in support of this national effort to focus on nutrition during the critical 1,000 day window of development.”
Besides evaluating the positive influence of multiple micronutrient powder use on infant and young child feeding practices by Bangladeshi families, the study will also evaluate its effect on reducing anemia. This study will contribute to the growing evidence base of biological impact of home fortification observed in other countries such as Kenya.
The study will further strengthen ongoing locally-driven initiatives committed to scaling up the production and distribution of multiple micronutrient powders and inform plans of the Government of Bangladesh who recently announced its intention to distribute the vitamin and mineral powder supplements nationally. Results of the study will inform national nutrition programming.
About GAIN in Bangladesh:
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an alliance driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. GAIN contributes to the fight against malnutrition in Bangladesh through innovative cross sector partnerships that can bring impact at scale. More than 100 million vulnerable people across Bangladesh will benefit from high quality nutritious foods through GAIN-supported programs: Programming areas include: large scale food fortification; agriculture and nutrition; nutrition targeted at children and mothers (critical 1,000 days from conception to age two); school feeding; and building policy environments supportive of good nutrition. For more information, please visit: http://www.gainhealth.org/
About CARE in Bangladesh:
Founded in 1945 CARE is working across 70 countries fighting global poverty. By addressing the underlying causes of poverty CARE promotes sustainable development models to empower and benefit the poorest and marginalized. CARE has been working in Bangladesh for 60 years. CARE Bangladesh amplifies the voices of the poor and the marginalized in ways that influence public opinion, development practice, and policy at all levels. This happens as knowledge drawn from our grass roots and global experience is channeled through purposeful relationships with civil society, government, and the private sector. For more information, please visit: http://www.carebangladesh.org
GAIN Bangladesh Country Manager, Basanta Kar, Tel: +880-1719400229 Email:email@example.com
CARE Bangladesh Program Director-Health, Dr. Jahangir Hossain, Tel: +880- 9112315, extn: 153 email: Jahangir@bd.care.org
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