Hasina urges Tokyo summit to urgently tackle pandemic-induced nutrition crisis

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has pushed the international community a unified and immediate action to shake off the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on public health and nutrition worldwide.

In a virtual address to the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit 2021 on Tuesday, she called on countries to take up the agenda to address the crisis.

"Urgent action and united efforts are needed to address the challenges of COVID-19, along with its impacts on public health and nutrition," she said.

The Bangladesh leader highlighted the 'daunting task' of ensuring adequate nutrition for all citizens. She pointed out that investment in nutrition security will generate high socio-economic returns, leading the way to sustainable growth and development.

The sector took a huge hit due to the pandemic, she said, adding it was time for "bold commitments" to develop "a global partnership to end all forms of malnutrition".

Hasina emphasised her government’s initiatives, including allowances under the social safety net programme, to ensure food security for the disadvantaged people of the country.

“A mid-day meal is now given to school students. We are diversifying production of grains, vegetables, fish, meat, eggs, and fruits with the goal of increased food security and improved nutrition."

The prime minister tabled a five-point proposal aimed at ensuring balanced diets for the population.

These include a united effort by countries to tackle the challenges of COVID-19 and its impacts on nutrition, enhanced collaboration for research focussing on nutritious foods, building food banks at regional and global levels for any emergency, exchanging best practices and expertise to increase nutrient contents in food and disbursing climate adaptation funds as a failsafe against loss of food production in developing countries.