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UNICEF: Bangladesh's "Silent Emergency" of malnutrition

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Published on Apr 8, 2009

DHAKA, Bangladesh, 8 April 2009 There's a sense of urgency as health workers wind their way along tiny rickety alleys, past the washing, cooking and cleaning in Kachukhet Bazaar, one of Dhaka's sprawling slums.

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Their mission takes them door to door, giving out small sachets of micronutrient powder. The health workers explain to mothers how to add the powder to ready-to eat-food for infants. It contains zinc to mitigate the effects of diarrhoea, iron to prevent anaemia and iodine to enhance brain development, as well as minerals and multi-vitamins.

"Looking at malnutrition, there has been no progress since the '90s," said UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh Carel de Rooy. "That is why it's a silent emergency. That is the situation today and during this period there has been good economic growth."

The micronutrients distributed by UNICEF and partners have helped, but a lot more support is needed.

In response to this 'silent emergency', UNICEF Bangladesh and its partners are working to strengthen food security in the areas of greatest need. They are also working on nutrition surveillance to allow early detection of changes in child nutrition and health, and in the food-security status of vulnerable families.

To read the full story, visit http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/b...

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