Bangladesh has had incredible success fighting hunger, but national rates of malnutrition are still very high. Stunting is a particular concern as it affects about 6 million Bangladeshi children under age five. The condition decreases cognitive development, leads to worse health outcomes and school performance, and lowers productivity throughout adult life. Fortunately, research indicates that this tragedy can be mitigated through micronutrient nutrition supplements given to young children and pregnant mothers. Similarly, supplements given during pregnancy can decrease the chance of stillbirth and undersized infants, as well as reducing pre-eclampsia and lowering the chances of anemia and birth defects.
|Strategy||Takas of benefits per taka spent|
|Nutrition & micronutrients, ½-5 year olds||19|
|Iron and folic acid in pregnancy||27|
|Balanced protein energy in pregnancy||17|
|Calcium in pregnancy||12|
Reduce Childhood Stunting Through Micronutrient Supplements
New Research by Jonathan Rose, a research advisor with the South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies, examines programs to fight malnutrition by delivering nutrients and micronutrients to young children and pregnant mothers.
Bangladesh has experienced a decline in stunting rates over time, though the rate remains high."
- Jonathan Rose
The Cost Benefit Analysis of Nutrition Intervention During Pregnancy in Bangladesh
In a related analysis, Rose looks at how nutrition could also help pregnant women. Providing nutrients to the mother can be a very advantageous proposition.
Nutrition direct interventions have the potential for preventing deaths and improving the quality of life for millions of Bangladeshis."
- Jonathan Rose
Healthier mothers for a brighter future
In a series of op-eds published in The Daily Star and Prothom Alo, Bjorn Lomborg outlined the key findings of the path-breaking research produced by the Bangladesh Priorities project.
Stunting decreases cognitive development, leads to worse health outcomes and school performance, and lowers productivity throughout adult life. It is especially harmful to Bangladesh, because about 6 million children under age five are stunted."
- Bjorn Lomborg
What's the smartest solution for Bangladesh?
Each of these supplements could benefit pregnant women, but the analysis shows that iron and folic acid is by far the most cost-effective strategy, allowing more people to be helped, given limited resources. Where would you choose to spend valuable resources if you were in charge and wanted to do the most good for Bangladesh? After reviewing 1,000s of pages of peer-reviewed research an Eminent Panel ranked 72 solutions from the best to the worst in terms of delivering the most social, economic and environmental value for money. Find out what they ranked the highest here.