Canada's Minister of International Development Karina Gould and Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Tuesday jointly launched a 'Year of Action' on nutrition, which will include a series of commitment-making moments.
The Year of Action will culminate with the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G), to be hosted by the Government of Japan in December 2021.
During the event, Minister Maleque said that Bangladesh will continue to invest in services that take a full life cycle approach to malnutrition—particularly for pregnant women, mothers and children.
He said they will continue to strengthen nutritional education and counseling services, Vitamin A supplementation and de-worming programs, as well as large- scale food fortification.
"Our programs will emphasize women's empowerment, enabling them to take decisions regarding their own and their children's nutrition and wellbeing. And finally, we aim to implement 6-month paid maternity leave across all sectors to ensure that all new mothers have the time, space, and support to breastfeed exclusively for a full six months."
Canada said it was delighted to co-host this important event with Bangladesh's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare because Bangladesh has made considerable progress in reducing malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
Today's kick-off event also brought together "early riser" stakeholders who support nutrition, particularly women and girls' nutrition.
They included leaders of several UN bodies, the Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation, World Vision and many others.
As a result of the launch event, CA$520 million has been pledged towards Nutrition for Growth.
With the onset of the pandemic, the number of people suffering acute hunger is expected to double to 265 million by the end of 2020.
Experts estimate that globally, Covid-19 is likely to increase in the number of wasted children by 6.7 million, while the number of people in extreme poverty could increase by 49 million.
The most vulnerable people are those who were food insecure or malnourished prior to the pandemic - especially women and children.
Today's announcement will help address the massive nutritional needs of the poorest and most marginalized populations by decreasing starvation and stunting, preventing additional cases of maternal anemia, and averting child deaths, said the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka.
As one of the largest donors to nutrition globally, Canada said it is committed to leading efforts to improve nutrition for the worlds poorest and most marginalized, especially women and girls.
This support will enable key partners to scale-up essential nutrition services for women, adolescent girls and children, as well as adapt programming to meet the new conditions created by Covid-19.