‘Gender discrimination leads to malnutrition in women’

February 14th, 2010 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, Feb 14 (IANS) Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has deplored gender discrimination in healthcare programmes pursued by South Asian nations, saying it leads to malnutrition and chronic diseases among women and children.
“Negligence of women’s health puts huge impact on children even when they grow up,” he said while participating in a dialogue entitled “Indo-Bangladesh Dialogue on Health and Education: Learning from Neighbours” here Saturday.

“It leads to high rate of maternal mortality and malnutrition, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among women and children,” he added.

Sen, a renowned economist who was born in present-day Bangladesh, suggested mid-day meals in schools, especially for poorer children, as a remedy for the problems in education and health sectors.

Introduced in Tamil Nadu in the mid-1960s, the mid-day meal scheme, which has become an integral part of the education and social welfare strategy across India, has been found to prevent the rise in the rate of school dropouts and improve health among students.

The dialogue was organised by two Bangladeshi non-governmental organisations — Brac, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Pratichi Trust in association with Unicef Bangladesh.

Touching upon the political divide in South Asian nations, Sen said there was nothing wrong with the Opposition taking a stance against the ruling party if it is aimed at public welfare.

“The Opposition opposes in multi-party democracy. But they would neglect their constructive role if they focus on other issues rather than public welfare, including education and health,” he told mediapersons.

Renowned Bangladeshi economist Rehman Sobhan, chairman of CPD, said lack of good governance was one of the major problems in Bangladesh and India.

Sen launched the Bangladesh Health Watch Report 2009 in the presence of Syed Modasser Ali, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s health adviser.

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