Anaemia among Workers Responsible for Huge Financial Loss in South Asia

Anaemia, caused by iron deficiency among the workers, is responsible for the reduction of productivity worth five billion US dollar in South Asian countries. 

Speakers at an event said a large number of our workers in different industries are suffering from malnutrition. About 43% of female workers at ready-made garments (RMG) sector are the victim of malnutrition.

Malnutrition can reduce the working capacity of workers and productivity by 20%. Hence, it is very important to implement the 'Vision 2021', and 'Vision 2041', taken up by the government, and to ensure nutritious foods for the workers for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they said.       

They remarked while addressing a sensitization meeting titled 'Strengthening Workers' Access to Pertinent Nutrition Opportunities (SWAPNO)' at City Inn Hotel in Khulna on Tuesday.   

Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment (DIFE) and Department of Labour in association with Switzerland-based organization ‘Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)’, 'Kingdom of Netherlands, SUN Pool Fund', and 'SUN Business Network' jointly organized the event.

State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian attended as the chief guest, while Talukder Abdul Khaleque, Mayor of Khulna City Corporation, as a special guest.

A.K.M Mizanur Rahman, Director General, Department of Labour, Dhaka; Dr Md. Mustafizur Rahman, Joint Inspector General (Health), DIFE; Dr Rudaba Khondker, Country Director, GAIN; Ismiel Hossain, Divisional Commissioner, Khulna; among others spoke.               

Moniruzzaman Bipul, Portfolio Lead, GAIN, presented the keynote paper.        

In her speech, Begum Monnujan Sufian said, the government is committed to facing the challenge of malnutrition as it causes economic losses, hampering our national development.    

The Minister said it is urgent to give attention to the issue of implementation of Vision 2021’, and ‘Vision 2041’, and ensuring nutritious foods for the workers for achieving SDGs.

She called for providing nutritious foods for workers at their workplaces along with raising awareness on nutrition for achieving the SDGs. 

Besides, she called upon those who are engaged in production, processing, supplying and marketing of foods to consider the matter of nutrition. 

The minister called upon BKMEA, BGMEA, international development organizations, businessmen and others to give their priority to the issue of improving the health and nutrition of the workers through increasing their investment in this regard.

The programme was informed that ensuring required nutrition among the workers can increase national productivity by up to 20%. Only anaemia caused by iron deficiency among the workers is responsible for reducing productivity worth five billion US dollar in many South Asian countries.

Other speakers stressed on forming an Alliance aimed at bringing sustainable and positive change relating to nutrition in the country

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