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New Undernutrition Maps Will Enhance Decision Making For Nutrition Programming

First ever upazila-level undernutrition maps of Bangladesh launched


Interesting and relevant findings emerge from the first-ever upazila-level undernutrition maps of Bangladesh, launched today by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to aid policy makers, planners and researchers in decision-making on targeted and integrated nutrition-focused development.
First ever upazila-level undernutrition maps of Bangladesh launched

In Bangladesh, about four out of ten children under the age of five are chronically undernourished; they are too short for their age, a condition known as stunting. The prevalence of stunting varies notably throughout the country. The stunting rate is highest in Bandarban district in Chittagong division, where 47 percent of the children below five years suffer from stunting. At the other end of the scale, 34 percent of the children in Dhaka district in Dhaka division are stunted.

At upazila level, 300 out of a total of 544 upazilas in Bangladesh have a stunting rate above 40 percent. Among upazilas in the districts there are significant variations in undernutrition rates. Within Dhaka district, which has the lowest stunting rate in Bangladesh, the stunting rate varies from 28 percent in Dakhshinkhan thana to as high as 41 percent in Keraniganj thana.

“These detailed findings, among others, prove that the upazila level undernutrition maps will serve as a valuable planning tool to aid targeting of areas lagging in child nutrition. The undernutrition maps 2012 will also provide critical inputs for the Seventh Five Year Plan, keeping in view the targets proposed under Vision 2021,” said Mr M A Mannan, MP, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning.

Both stunting levels and levels of underweight have been mapped. In an era when undernutrition is increasingly on the agenda, stunting is recognized as one of the most important indicators to monitor.

“In response to a considerable demand from policy makers, researchers and the development partners for undernutrition estimates and maps at a more disaggregated level, we started the initiative in May 2013. Investing effectively in nutrition is essential for our national economic and social development,” said Golam Mostafa Kamal, Director General, BBS.

Nutritionally-challenged regions are not necessarily the poorest. While the eastern divisions of Sylhet and Chittagong fare better at poverty status than their western counterparts of Khulna and Rajshahi, the scenario reverses in the undernutrition maps where stunting and underweight levels are highest. In contrast, Khulna division which possesses one of the highest poverty rates has one of the lowest stunting rates.

“The comparison of the undernutrition maps with other key maps such as poverty, female education and child care practices indicates that the commonly identified causes for undernutrition do not have a similar level of effect in all areas. As the causes of undernutrition are manifold and complex, so are the solutions,” said WFP Representative Christa Räder.

“Undernutrition in children occurs when they are not fed adequately with nutritious food such as vegetables, eggs, fish, meat and dairy. We genuinely hope that these data will make a difference in the nutrition-focused development when future decisions are being made and investments are being placed,” said Hubert Boirard, Country Programme Manager, IFAD.

Find the undernutrition maps and the publication with the key findings here:


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