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Report: 1 in 3 children suffered from malnutrition during Covid-19 pandemic

  • Published at 08:43 pm February 28th, 2021
Md Shamsul Haque Tuku addresss a meeting of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights at Westin hotel in Dhaka on Sunday, February 28, 2021 Courtesy

Child marriages and domestic violence of children also increased during the pandemic, according to the study

At least 38% to 40% children suffered from malnutrition during the Covid-19 pandemic in this country, according to a study.

The findings of the study conducted by World Vision Bangladesh were presented on Sunday at the Westin hotel in Dhaka, from a Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights meeting.

As per the research findings, the malnourished children had two meals a day instead of three. Also, almost 60% of their families also took two meals a day for at least four months.

As many as 12,000 households of 52 upazilas under 24 districts of the eight divisions were surveyed for the research study, said World Vision Bangladesh Communications, Advocacy, and Public Relations Director Tony Michael Gomes.

The study also found that 18% people lost their day labour jobs, incomes of 90% households decreased, 70% people started taking loans and 40% people broke their savings due to the pandemic.

As a result of these crises, rates of child marriages and domestic violence of children shot up, Tony said.

Forty-four percent of children dropped out while studying at junior level (Class 8) to support their families by earning a livelihood, the study stated.

Tony pointed out, students are promoted to the next grade, but did not have proper knowledge of what they were supposed to learn in the previous class.

When the respondents were interviewed by researchers, 98% of them said that earning livelihood was the most important thing for them. And, 65% felt the necessity of nutrition, Tony said.

The World Vision study recommended allocating more money in the health and education sectors and urged to ensure proper spending of unused funds.

Md Shamsul Haque Tuku, chairperson of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights, urged the stakeholders to raise children without being tortured as they are important human resources of the state.

He pledged to discuss the findings of World Vision at the caucus meeting in March.

Aroma Dutta, another parliamentarian and human rights activist, suggested working on specific points of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) regarding child rights.

She said: “We need accountable teachers to ensure quality education. Technical schools need to be opened to relieve the children from child labour.”

Referring to World Vision’s projection on 13 ministry’s expenditures related to children, Deputy Speaker of parliament Md Fazle Rabbi Miah said: “Parliament needs to stop allocating money to those ministries which have failed to spend allocated money.” 

All the stakeholders have to come together and make a coordinated decision on child rights, he said.

Among others, World Vision’s National Director Suresh Bartlett and at least 10 other lawmakers of the parliamentary caucus were present.

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