Anemia among RMG workers causes 7.9pc GDP loss

Staff Correspondent

29 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh is losing about 7.9 percent its GDP per year because of anemia disease among the Ready Made Garments (RMG) workers.

Swiss-based international organisation Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) unveiled this data on Monday. 

According to the research findings about 43percent RMG workers are suffering from malnutrition.

Of them, 77percent workers are suffering from anemia while sufferings of 19 percent workers are mild and that of 8 percent severe and that of 50 percent moderate

There are more than 3.5 to 4.2 million workers in the country’s RMG sector.

The data were revealed at a regional sensitization meeting titled “Strengthening Workers’ Access to Pertinent Nutrition Opportunities (SWAPNO),” organised by Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment (DIFE) supported by GAIN.

Moniruzzaman Bipul, portfolio lead of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) presented the keynote paper on the findings. KM Abdus Salam, secretary of Ministry of Labour and Employment, attended the meeting as the chief guest while Shib Nath Roy, Inspector General of DIFE chaired it.    

While presenting the keynote paper, Moniruzzaman Bipul said that the private and the public sectors can improve the health of workforces and significantly reduce the burden of malnutrition.

“Adequate nourishment can raise national productivity by 20 percent. Ensuring the access to nutritious and safe food for the workers can ensure utilization of full potential or productivity of workers,” he added while citing a report of World Health Organization (WHO), 2003.

Although nutrition interventions have a significant impact on productivity, the issue is always often side-lined, he said, calling for improving nutrition knowledge of workers and increasing availability and accessibility to nutritious and safe food for them, as it will generate a sustainable business growth. 

Speaking as the chief guest KM Abdus Salam stressed on health issue of the workers, calling on all concerned to work together in this regard.

Dr Rudaba Khondker, Bangladesh country director of GAIN, Dr Md Mustafizur Rahman, Joint Inspector General of DIFE, Dr Muttaquina Hossain, associate scientist, icddr,b; Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, Director of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), and Hanifur Rahman Lotus, chair-health standing committee of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), among others, also spoke on the occasion.