Mentioning that about 43% of female workers in the RMG sector are victims of malnutrition, speakers at a seminar called upon employers to ensure workers' nutrition for improving the productivity and working capacity of workers.
Malnutrition can reduce the productivity and working capacity of workers by up to 20% if it is not addressed, they said at the event titled 'Workforce Nutrition: Learning Dissemination Seminar' on Sunday.
Moniruzzaman Bipul, portfolio lead of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) presented the keynote paper on workforce nutrition at the event in the capital, said a press release.
As chief guest, State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian said the present government gave priority to public health and nutrition issues for building Bangladesh into a developed country.
She stressed on proper implementation of Vision 2021-41, which strives to eradicate extreme poverty and gain the status of the upper-middle-income country by 2030 and the status of the high-income country by 2041, with poverty being eradicated.
The state minister called upon those, involved in the production, processing, supply and sale of foods, to consider the issue of safe and nutritious food.
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) organised the event, supported by GAIN, a Switzerland-based international organisation.
Dr Syed Abul Hamid, Professor, Institute of Health Economics (IHE), University of Dhaka, said meals at lunchtime, provided for RMG workers under GAIN's 'Swapno' project, improved nutritional conditions as well as the working capacity of workers.
Citing the project's results, he said 'Pusti Bandhu' played an important role in disseminating knowledge on nutrition among workers.
The seminar also called for making a 'Workforce Alliance' comprising GO, NGOs, and private organisations from various sectors for improving the health condition of workers.
M Ehsan E-Elahi, secretary of Labour and Employment Ministry, presided over the programme where KM Abdus Salam, secretary of Parliament Secretariat, was present as a special guest.
M Nasir Uddin Ahmed, inspector general of DIFE, gave the welcome address at the seminar.
Dr SM Mustafizur Rahman, line director of National Nutrition Service (NNS); Anne Van Leeuwen, Netherlands Ambassador to Bangladesh; Goutam Kumar, director-general of Labour Department; Kazi Zebunnesa Begum, additional secretary of Health Services Division of Health and Family Welfare Ministry and Focal of Sun Focal Point; Dr Rudaba Khondker, country director of GAIN-Bangladesh; also spoke.