This review is about the formulation of a national micronutrient strategy in providing a comprehensive and coordinated plan of action to prevent and control micronutrient deficiencies among Bangladeshi population.
Findings from the recent National Micronutrient Survey (NMS) 2011-12 has been examined in detail, including data from other previous surveys providing specific micronutrient deficiency status. Reports on the gap analysis of existing interventions/programmes and various policy documents was desk reviewed and validated through series of consultation workshops.
The NMS created first-ever benchmark for some important micronutrients, such as zinc, B12, folate, vitamin D, and calcium along with iron, vitamin A and iodine nutrition among the Bangladeshi population and documented multiple micronutrient deficiencies among the population, especially younger children, school-age children and women of reproductive age. Addressing multiple micronutrient deficiencies requires clear policies, comprehensive strategies, coordinated actions and multi-sectoral investment. The government has been implementing interventions against vitamin A, iodine and iron deficiency since long. However, the activities were discrete and disconnected from each other. The government along with stakeholders developed this comprehensive micronutrient strategy and first time looked the micronutrient issues in a holistic approach. It will provide an outline for implementation with clear strategies for the next ten years. It would help in designing effective programmes, allocating budget and implementing at scales followed by evaluations.
The development of the national micronutrient strategy is an important step to a comprehensive approach to tackling prevailing micronutrient deficiencies, with the ability to engage and cut across stakeholders resulting in better programming in Bangladesh.