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Fifty Years of Biochemistry: Progress in Food and Nutrition Security in Bangladesh. by Harun K.M. Yusuf, PhD, FBAS Professor of Biochemistry and Human Nutrition, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka. Currently

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Fifty Years of Biochemistry: Progress in Food and Nutrition Security in Bangladesh


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    1. Fifty Years of Biochemistry: Progress in Food and Nutrition Security in Bangladesh by Harun K.M. Yusuf, PhD, FBAS Professor of Biochemistry and Human Nutrition, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka. Currently National Nutrition Advisor to FAO of the UN, National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme (NFPCSP) Presented at the Golden Jubilee Scientific Conference, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dhaka University, 30 November 2008.

    2. PROFESSOR KAMALUDDIN AHMAD - 2003

    3. Establishment of the Department of Biochemistry at Dhaka University in 1957 by Professor Kamaluddin Ahmad • A milestone - the birth of the science of biochemistry and nutrition in this part of the Sub-continent. • This mother Department subsequently gave birth to the Departments of Pharmacy (now a Faculty of 3 Departments), Microbiology and Genetic Engg. & Biotechnology and the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science (INFS).

    4. Nutrition Survey of East Pakistan 1962-64 Another milestone – Revelation of • widespread malnutrition, especially among the children and women • widespread vitamin-mineral deficiencies, particularly vitamin A deficiency nightblindness, iodine deficiency goitre, and iron deficiency anaemia.

    5. “This report presents the findings and recommendations of one of the most comprehensive nutrition surveys ever conducted. It is our sincere hope that this study will substantially contribute to improved nutrition and health of the people of Pakistan” …. …..the organization direction of Dr. Kamaluddin Ahmad, Head of Biochemistry Department at Dhaka University was the “largest single factor in its success” … Dr. Arnold E. Schaefer Executive Director Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare

    6. Major recommendations of the 1962-64 Survey • Increase in food production and availability • Development of food processing and preservation • A campaign to improve the nutrition of the preschool children • Introduce an expanded school lunch programme • Continued research on micronutrient deficiencies – iodine deficiency goitre, Vitamin A deficiency nightblindness, iron deficiency anaemia

    7. Iodine deficiency, the most corrosive nutritional disease • Affects physical growth and development • Damages the brain - structurally and - functionally -----leading to loss of intelligence quotient (IQ)

    8. Implications of Loss of IQ • Poor scholastic performance • Frequent failures/grade repetitions • Absenteeism/drop outs • Reduced contribution to socio-economic development

    9. Economic cost of IQ loss due to Iodine deficiency • The loss ofjust one IQ pointis associated with an overall reduction in lifetime earnings of2.39%. • Iodine deficiency is associated with an average loss of13.5IQ points, equating to a loss of 13.5 x 2.39 =32.3%of lifetime earnings. i.e. about1/3rd of lifetime earnings.

    10. IQ points saved during the last decade in Bangladesh Goitre prevalence in 1962-64 = 29% Goitre prevalence in 1993 = 47% Annual incremental rate (in 30 years) = 0.6% Projected goitre prevalence in 2004-05 = 54% Actual goitre prevalence in 2004-05 = 6% IQ lost in goitre on average = 13.5 points Population in 2005 = 139 million Projected loss of IQ in 2005 = 1.01 billion Estimated loss of IQ in 2005 = 1.12 billion IQ points saved in 12 years (1993-2005) = 0.9 billion

    11. It is indisputable that the National IQ is the nation’sgreatest single economic asset. It must be protected at all costs.

    12. Policy actions • Bangladesh Food and Nutrition Policy • Bangladesh National Plan of Action for Nutrition • National Food Policy 2006

    13. The National Food Policy 2006 is one of the most comprehensive, pro-poor, gender-sensitive equitable food policy government documents. • The global objective of the Policy is to ensure food and nutrition security for all.

    14. A Plan of Action (PoA) has been developed with the technical assistance of the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme (NFPCSP), a project being jointly implemented by GoB (Government of Bangladesh) and FAO of the UN. • The PoA covers areas of action to address all three dimensions of food security - food production and availability, food accessibility and food utilization for nutrition. • The PoA is now under active implementation.

    15. THANK YOU