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CRC/C/BGD/4

page 65

situation of the poor, for example, through schemes to rehabilitate slum dwellers, and provide housing for landless and low-income families, and most importantly micro credit programmes. Use of sanitary latrine is increasing (close to 80 percent population), 97 percent households have access to improved water sources, the overall safe water coverage is at 75 percent because of naturally occurring arsenic contamination of ground water.

267.Use of telephone, computer and Internet is increasing at a faster rate. Of the total households, 44 percent have electricity. GNP per head is now in the country at US$ 480 and overall HDI rating is increasing gradually.

G.  Nutrition and breastfeeding

Nutrition

268.Millions of children in Bangladesh suffer from malnutrition, increasing the possibility of childhood illness and mortality. It is a direct result of the high prevalence of low birth weight (LBW), inadequate dietary intake and diseases, and an indirect result of household food insecurity, inadequate maternal and childcare and poor health services. Other causes of malnutrition include inadequate breastfeeding and infant feeding practices and infectious diseases, including diarrhoea. In all, roughly half the country’s rural households can be considered food insecure. According to the Household Income and Expenditure Surveys roughly poorest 20 percent in 2000 and 19.5 percent in 2005 consume less than 1805 kilo calories, against the minimum caloric requirement set in Bangladesh at 2112 per day. In 2005, total 40.4 percent population consumed less than 2122 kilo calorie, 39.5 percent in rural and 43.2 percent in urban areas.

269.The country has been quite successful in achieving the target in terms of grain production (paddy and wheat), which reached around 27 million Metric Ton (MT). Even with the near selfsufficiency of food production, food security could not be ensured. There are regional and seasonal disparities in food production and availability. While Dhaka, Khulna and Chittagong are considered to be food deficit areas, in contrast Rajshahi by and large has food surplus. Again, Bangladesh experience two major periods of food shortage, February to March and September to October. Natural calamities, which is quite frequent in the country cause regional and timespecific food insecurity. Cereal-biased dietary habit is also considered another important reason for food insecurity.

Maternal malnutrition

270.The prevalence of malnutrition LBW is high because adolescent girls and women who do not consume adequate nutritious food during pregnancy. Malnutrition in non-pregnant rural women declined from 54 percent in 1996-7 to 49 percent in 1999-2000, but is still considered high with 35.2 percent in 2005 (BBS). The national average in 2005 was 32.2 percent.

271.Severe anaemia during pregnancy increases the risk of maternal death and or having underweight children. The most common cause is iron deficiency. Other important causes include deficiencies of folic acid and vitamin A, parasitic infections such as hookworms and malaria.

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