Malnutrition can reduce the working capacity of workers and productivity by 20%
Speakers at a sensitisation session have remarked that malnutrition amongst a large number of workers at different industries throughout the country is the main impediment to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They said about 43% of female workers in the ready-made garments sector suffer from malnutrition, which can reduce the working capacity of workers and productivity by 20%. Hence, to enable the achievement of SDGs, it is critical to implement the government's Plan of Action (2021, 2041) and to ensure nutritious food for workers.
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment (DIFE) and Department of Labour in association with Switzerland-based organisation Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) organised a meeting titled "Strengthening Workers' Access to Pertinent Nutrition Opportunities (Swapno)" at City Inn Hotel in Khulna on Tuesday, reads a press release.
Addressing the event as the chief guest, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian said the government was committed to tackling the challenge of malnutrition head on, since it causes economic losses and slows the progress of national development.
To achieve the SDGs, she called for the supply of nutritious food to workers at their workplaces, along with raising nutritional awareness.
She also called upon those who are engaged in production, processing, supplying, and marketing of foods to prioritise nutrition.
According to discussions at the event, ensuring required nutrition amongst workers could potentially increase national productivity by up to 20%. Anaemia alone, caused by iron deficiency amongst workers, is responsible for reducing productivity to the tune of $5 billion in many South Asian countries.
Other speakers stressed on forming an Alliance aimed at bringing sustainable and positive change with regards to nutrition in the country.
Moniruzzaman Bipul, Portfolio Lead, GAIN, presented the keynote paper.
Khulna City Corporation Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque was present as a special guest.
AKM Mizanur Rahman, Director General, Department of Labour, Dhaka; Dr Md Mustafizur Rahman, Joint Inspector General (Health), DIFE; Dr Rudaba Khondker, Country Director, GAIN; Ismiel Hossain, Divisional Commissioner, Khulna spoke on the occasion, among others.