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CRC/C/BGD/4

page 66

Child malnutrition

272.Children’s malnutrition is reflected on their overall health status particularly in terms of LBW, low childhood growth (stunting), vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency disorders and anaemia. However, child’s malnutrition mainly stems from mother’s poor health and nutrition. Bangladesh has made significant progress in child malnutrition in the recent years, as discussed in the following sections.

273.Low Birth Weight and Growth: MICS 2006 indicates that as low as 26.7 percent of infants are estimated to weigh less than 2.5 kg. There are some variations between income group and mother’s education, as MICS suggests, but not between rural and urban areas. Like other developing countries, Bangladesh is not only facing the major challenge of improving child nutrition, but also has been experiencing the problem in weighing children. MICS 2006 shows that only 15.5 percent babies are weighed at birth. However, the overall situation is improving.

274.The percentage of children aged 6-59 months with stunting (low height) decreased from 51 percent in 1995 to 48 percent in 2000 and further to 46.2 percent in 2005; underweight decreased from 57.2 percent in 1995 to 51 percent in 2000 and 39.7 percent in 2005; and wasting (too thin) decreased from 17 percent in 1995 to 12 percent in 2000 and increased to 12.7 percent in 2005 (BBS & UNICEF, 1992, 2000, 2005).

Table 6.4

Nutritional status of children in Bangladesh, 1989-2004 (in percent)

Year

Residence

Height-for-age (Stunting)

Weight-for-height (Wasting)

Weight-for-age (Under weight)

Boys

Girls

Both

Boys

Girls

Both

Boys

Girls

Both

1989-90

National

65.6

65.9

65.4

15.3

13.8

14.4

64.8

67.8

65.8

1995-96

National

51.6

51.2

51.4

15.9

17.3

17.0

56.8

58.1

57.4

Urban

42.0

43.9

42.9

15.6

10.6

13.3

45.4

47.2

46.3

Rural

53.2

52.4

52.8

16.0

18.5

17.2

58.8

59.9

59.3

2000

National

48.4

49.1

48.0

12.0

11.4

12.0

51.3

50.9

51.0

Urban

38.9

37.9

38.5

12.0

 9.4

10.9

44.7

39.8

38.5

Rural

50.1

51.3

50.2

12.0

11.8

12.2

52.5

53.0

50.1

2005

National

47.1

45.3

46.2

12.7

12.7

12.7

40.3

39.0

39.7

Urban

38.0

33.7

35.9

10.8

10.8

10.8

30.1

29.7

29.9

Rural

49.4

48.2

48.8

13.0

13.2

13.1

43.0

41.3

42.2

275.Vitamin A deficiency: Bangladesh has reduced vitamin A deficiency over the years. Vitamin-A supplementation of children aged 12-59 months rose from 41 percent in 1993 to 85 percent in 1995, and has been sustained at more than 85 percent throughout the last decade. In 2005, the coverage was 93 percent nationwide, 92 percent in rural areas and 94 percent in urban (CNS 2005). Vitamin A supplementation twice a year, made it possible to maintain the prevalence of night blindness sustained well below the 1 percent threshold that signals a public health problem. The supplementation programme coverage increased mainly because of linking the distribution of Vitamin A capsules with the National Immunization Days (NID). In Bangladesh within the six months as per MICS 2006, some 85 percent children aged 659 months received a high dose vitamin A supplement.

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