Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and BRAC held a series of events to discuss Nutrition and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): New Approaches to Partnership. The activities concluded today 2nd December with interactive knowledge sharing and a field visit at Palash Upazila (Sub-District), Narshingdi (District) in which the GAIN Global Board Members took part. GAIN’s discussion on SDGs started with a dialogue with government officials on 29 November where the Honourable Minister of Commerce Mr Tofail Ahmed M.P. was present as the Chief Guest.
The Honourable Minister of Commerce Mr. Tofail Ahmed M.P. attended the event as Chief Guest and Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Advisor to the honourable Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was the special guest. Panel discussion was facilitated by Executive Director of GAIN, Marc Van Ameringen and discussants included, Mr. Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan ndc, Secretary Ministry of Industries and Mr. Syed Monjurul Islam, Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Laurent Umans, First Secretary, Food Security from the Netherland Embassy and Heather McBride, Deputy Director, Planning and Lead Analyst from the Canadian High Commission. The event was well attended by representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Food, ERD the Social Development Fund, USAID, UNICEF and the European Union.
On 30 November the discussion focused on nutrition and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which was jointly organised by BRAC and GAIN. Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Director of BRAC Health, Nutrition and Population Programme (HNPP), Executive Director of GAIN, Marc Van Ameringen and Dr. Tahmeed Ahmed, Director, Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, icddr,b facilitated the event. Dr. Muhammed Musa, Executive Director of BRAC and Vinita Bali, Chair of the GAIN Board gave opening remarks. The Honourable Finance Minister Mr Abul Maal Abdul Muhith M.P. attended the event as Chief Guest and Mr Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Secretary of Ministry of Industry was the Special Guest. The founder and chairperson of BRAC, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG attended as a Special Guest and the event was attended by officials of different ministries of Government of Bangladesh, Board of Directors of GAIN Development, Civil Society and private sector partners and research organisations. Panel discussants included Dr. Khairul Hassan, Deputy Chief (Health), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Md. Quamrul Islam, Director, IPHN and Line Director, NNS, Mr. Shawn Baker Director of Nutrition, Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Dr. Stanley Zlotkin Chief, Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children, Canada, Mr. Laurent Umans, First Secretary, Food Security, The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Ms. Christa Räder Country Representative WFP, Dr. Md. Ataur Rahman Health & Nutrition Adviser Canadian High Commission, Dr. Jiban Krishna Biswas, Director General, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Ministry of Agriculture , Mr. Michael Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Mr. Omar Dary Senior Nutrition Adviser, USAID, Ms. Anuradha Narayan Chief, Nutrition Section, UNICEF and Ms. Abi Masefield NAS, Consultant, European Union.
Honourable Finance Minister Mr Muhith M.P. said, “Bangladesh has broken the shackles of extreme poverty through combined efforts of Government, NGOs, academia and private sector”. He also stressed on the importance of research based initiatives to tackle hindrances like poverty and malnutrition.
Sir Fazle emphasised in frugal innovations in bringing nutritious food at the door steps of people. He shared his experience on how BRAC addressed the condition of iodine deficiency in Bangladesh with a holistic approach including setting up salt mills to produce iodised salt. Sir Abed said, “To scale up nutrition intervention, a multi sectorial approach is necessary”. He also added that “the incidence of malnutrition is widespread not because of lack of food but because of lack of knowledge. Therefore, primary and secondary education curriculum may consider including relevant content on nutrition”. He also urged Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to step forward and persuade ministry of education to make this happen.
Mr Mosharraf Bhuyian, Secretary, Ministry of Industries, said, “The government of Bangladesh is committed to support the cause of combating micronutrient deficiency in Bangladesh. The Ministry of Industries has taken the lead in the Universal Salt Iodisation programme, with the goal of alleviating iodine deficiency by 2030. Mr Bhuyian highlighted the recent success of mandatory fortification of edible oil with Vitamin A as is a good example of a cost effective, scalable intervention.
Mr Jay Naidoo, the Chair of the Partnership Council of GAIN concluded the event with a vote of thanks.