Talk show on NTV- WASH and Nutrition in Bangladesh

4 Jan 2016

Talk show on NTV- WASH and Nutrition in Bangladesh

Nutrition goes hand-in-hand with clean water, sanitation and hygiene. Malnutrition is not only due to lack of nutritious food; it can be exacerbated by parasites and bacteria or even pathogens found in food and water. Unsafe water and poor sanitation, or lack of proper hygiene, undermine nutrition causing illnesses like diarrhea and dysentery which forces nutrients out of the body. Without ensuring proper WASH facilities stunting and wasting among children cannot be reduced. In view of the importance of WASH in health, citizens need to be sensitised and enabled by civil society. In Bangladesh, 36% of children still suffer from stunting. Ensuring proper WASH facilities is a major development concern for future targets and objectives for the healthy start advocacy initiative.

Dr. Selina (Project Manager of WaterAid Bangladesh) was aired on ‘Daily Digest’ (a TV talk show sponsored by USAID and aired regularly on one of Bangladesh’s most popular national television) last Saturday, theme of which was on WASH and Nutrition in Bangladesh. This special episode was designed and supported strategically by WaterAid. Among other important discussion points, potential impacts of WASH on malnutrition have been discussed. Few discussions also revolved on effective collaboration among stakeholders and existing approaches to tackle the under nutrition problem. The other guest for the evening was Mr. Shamsuddin Ahmed, Joint Secretary and Director, Directorate of Primary Education. Video Clips on our rural program initiatives was also flashed while being telecasted. Dr. Selina spoke on the common practices mothers have in our country. They usually prepare food for their children once a day and continue to feed them all through the day, even though the food can contaminate when left to stand for hours. Other factors are that mothers use the same spoon several times without washing it after every feeding that further contaminates the food being fed to children. She explains how we can sensitise our mothers to be more aware on the cognitive development issues related to lack of hygiene, and the ultimate impact on a child’s growth. Further explains how a newborn’s/child health can be integrated to nutrient deficiencies if a mother doesn’t ensure washing their hands after cleaning their children’s faeces. Child fecal management is thus an important advocacy agenda for the Healthy Start initiative.

Few other discussions have revolved around lack of menstrual hygiene facilities in school. There could be link to inter-generational problem among women and girls being malnourished due to lack of menstrual hygiene facilities in schools. Parents often want to get their daughters married once they reach menarche, absence of adequate school facilities to manage menstruation is a factor in forcing girls to get married at an earlier age that can affect their decision making power. She further stated that such institutional problems with girls’ knowledge on and ability to practice menstrual hygiene due to taboos affects their safe motherhood.