A significant number of workers in different industries across Bangladesh are malnourished, and workforce nutrition interventions can improve their health and wellbeing, thereby improving the companies’ production volume as well.
Speakers made the remark at a seminar titled “Workforce Nutrition: Learning Dissemination Seminar” held at a city hotel on Sunday, adding that according to the National Library of Medicine, USA (2014), nearly 43 per cent female workers in the RMG sector suffer malnutrition. If the issue is not addressed, malnutrition can reduce the productivity and working capacity of workers by up to 20 per cent, speakers said, quoting data from the International Labour Organisation (2005).
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) organised the seminar with support from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a Switzerland-based international organisation.
At the programme, speakers also appealed to form a “Workforce Alliance” comprised of government, non-government, and private organisations from various sectors to improve the health condition of workers.
State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian said, “The present government – led by Sheikh Hasina – gave priority to public health and nutrition issues in line with the steps taken by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, for building Bangladesh as a developed country.”
She stressed the need for proper implementation of the Prime Minister’s Vision 2021-41, which strives to eradicate extreme poverty and gain the status of the Upper Middle Income Country by 2030 and High Income Country by 2041, with poverty being absent.
Sufian called upon those involved in production, processing, supply and sale of foods to consider the issue of safe and nutritious food.
Dr Syed Abul Hamid, a professor at the Institute of Health Economics under Dhaka University, said meals at lunch time, provided for RMG workers under GAIN’s “Swapno” project, improved nutritional condition as well as working capacity of the workers.
Showcasing the project’s results, he said “Pusti Bandhu” played an important role in disseminating knowledge on nutrition among workers.