One-third of the country’s children under the age of five, suffer from stunting due to recurrent infections, hampering physical and mental growth development, according to a Max Foundation report.
The main causes of stunting are inadequate nutrition and repeated bouts of infection within the first 1000 days of a child’s life. Lack of safe water, sanitation, hygiene, and poor living condition are also responsible for the disease of stunting.
Some half of the young children in areas like Chhatak, Sylhet are in the face of stunting.
Physicians underscored the need to tackle stunting problem in children promptly, for a healthy future generation.
The government has already taken a good number of initiatives to tackle the stunting crisis through developing community healthcare service simultaneously with the development partners. NGOs are also working on this issue and their contribution is remarkable. Max Foundation has already started a project titled ‘Growing Up Up Up Project’ at Chhatak upazilla, where half the children under-5 are stunted.
Local community, entrepreneurs and government officials are involved in the said project for removing the stunting crisis.
The overall objective of the project is to improve child nutritional status through an integrated approach to improve three core components: WASH, Nutrition and Care (SRHR and Safe Motherhood) in the project area, reaching out to 5,500 children and providing nearly 58,000 people with access to clean drinking water, clean toilets and information on hygiene and nutrition. Beneficiaries from this project are mostly pregnant women and mothers, adolescent women, children, and primary and secondary school children from ethnic minorities in poor rural villages. The ‘Growing UpUpUp Project’ of Max Foundation, is funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, and being implemented by Village Education Resource Center (VERC), that is working on resource mobilisation, communal development and advocacy of the project.
Red Orange Media and Communications is the strategic partner for the project, while the Royal Institute of Tropical Health (KIT) of the Netherlands is involved in analyzing and monitoring the evaluations of the project.
Max Foundation is going to launch a dedicated website where anyone can track the progress of children via the project. The website will be announced to be operational at the ‘Nutrition Fair 2018’ on August 1, start of the World Breastfeeding Week, observed by Bangladesh every year starting this decade.
The website contains a unique feature which is the video series of three children from the field whose growth is going to be monitored by Max Foundation till 2019. By following the videos, the visitor will be updated about the children’s gradual progress and the field activities.
One can also read blogs from the field, view research, news and other relevant publications on stunting on the website.
The project, launched in September 2017, will continue till the end of 2019.