Bangladesh ranks 57 in Global Hunger Index

In Bangladesh, an active NGO sector, public transfer programs have helped reduce child under-nutrition

Bangladesh has stepped up one point in 2014 Global Hunger Index (GHI), showing a significant improvement in hunger levels along with nine other countries.

The country has ranked 57, according to the GHI released on Monday by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide.

In 2013 GHI, Bangladesh ranked 58.

“Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chad, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Thailand, and Vietnam have seen the greatest improvements in their scores between the 1990 GHI and the 2014 GHI,” said the 2014 GHI.

The 2014 GHI has examined levels of hunger in 120 developing countries and countries in transition and scores them based on three equally weighted indicators: the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and the mortality rate of children under five.

This “hidden hunger” – the focus of the report’s main essay—is often hard to detect, but is potentially devastating.

Hidden hunger weakens the immune system, stunts physical and intellectual growth, and can lead to death.

It wreaks economic havoc as well, locking countries into cycles of poor nutrition, lost productivity, poverty, and reduced economic growth.

The good news in this year’s GHI is that the number of people going hungry has steadily decreased in most developing countries, it said.

It added that since 1990, hunger in the developing world has fallen by 39%, and 26 countries have reduced their scores by 50% or more.

The bad news is that the levels of hunger are still “alarming” in 14 countries, and “extremely alarming” in two, Burundi and Eritrea, it said.

It said several Southeast Asian and South Asian countries showed dramatically improved scores since 1990, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Bangladesh.

Comparing the 1990 GHI and the 2014 GHI, Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chad, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Thailand, and Vietnam saw the largest improvements-with decreases in their scores ranging between 14 and 24 points.

In Bangladesh, an active NGO sector and public transfer programs helped reduce child under-nutrition among the poorest and improved the GHI score.

Bangladesh regularly monitors children’s nutritional status and has cut back underweight in children from 62% in 1990 to 37% in 2011, it added.

Bangladesh has experienced broad-based progress in social indicators, and it is very active in the nongovernmental (NGO) sector and public transfer programs helped reduce child under-nutrition among the poorest (World Bank 2014, 2005).

The country is committed to regular monitoring of children’s nutritional status and has cut back underweight in children from a staggering 62% in 1990 to only 37% in 2011.

“Particularly in countries facing a high burden of malnutrition, hidden hunger goes hand in hand with other forms of malnutrition and cannot be addressed in isolation,” said Welthungerhilfe president Brbel Dieckmann.

He added: “In the long-term, people cannot break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition without being granted the basic right to nutritious food.”

“We are excited to see that there are improvements in India and also globally,” said Shenggen Fan, IFPRI’s director general.

“The GHI shows that hunger has been decreasing since 1990, but there is much more to be done to address hunger-including hidden hunger-to ensure food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable.”

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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