Living in the city- Urban challenges to Food and Nutrition Security in kamrangirchar slum, Dhaka-An Anthropological study.

As per Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Bangladesh by the year 2015 has to 1) eradicate hunger, chronic food insecurity, and extreme destitution; 2) reduce poverty by 50%; 3) attain universal primary education for all of primary school age children; 4) eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary school education; 5) reduce infant and under five mortality rates by 65% and eliminate gender disparity in child mortality; 6) reduce the proportion of malnourished under five children by 50% and eliminate gender disparity in child malnutrition; 7) reduce maternal mortality rate by 50%; 8) ensure access to reproductive health services to all; 9) reduce substantially, if not totally, social violence against women and children and finally 10) ensure disaster management and prevent environmental degradation for overcoming the persistence of deprivation. (Source: Halder; 2010)

MDG recognizes the close link between income poverty and food access, which is important to retain at a time when food insecurity and under‐nutrition are primarily problems of access. Poor nutritional outcomes are also related to inadequate health, poor sanitation, and many other factors. In this Research, we focused on the food security, in addition the condition of health, nutrition status and gender dimension and role of policy.
The population of the developing countries, like Bangladesh, is becoming more urban and with the urban population the locus of poverty and malnutrition is shifting from rural to urban areas. The Urbanization of Bangladesh is interlinked with the intense development of Dhaka city which has developed as a politico-administrative centre, having gained and then lost its position through the political development of the country. Due to the concentration of both domestic and foreign investment, Dhaka city experienced massive migration from the rural population at Bangladesh in recent decades but a critical downside to this has been the dramatic rise in poverty. The state of Dhaka’s infrastructure is inadequate and unable to keep up with growing urban pressures. Significant portions of the city’s population are living in slums and squatter settlements and are experiencing extremely low living standards, low productivity and unemployment. The slum population mostly lives below the poverty line in terms of both calorie intake and the cost of basic needs.

A large number of people are estimated to lack sufficient dietary energy availability and at least twice that number suffer micronutrient, deficiencies. Millions of children and women suffer from one or more forms of malnutrition including low birth weight, stunning, underweight, vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency disorders and anemia. Malnutrition passes from one generation to the next because malnourished mothers give birth to malnourished infants. Relatively little is known about the determinant of urban Food and Nutrition insecurity, but it is clear that the causes and the actors involved are more diverse and complex in urban setting than in rural one.

In Recent time, Food and Nutrition Security is one of the main concern issues for urban poor or slum dwellers. Their condition on Food, nutrition, sanitation, water and health are comparatively very low and they suffering numerous malnutrient deficiencies or diseases. Here, the study concern on urban people’s Food and Nutrition (in)security which is determined within the context of their livelihoods. Livelihoodsencompass people’s capacities, assets, and activities for making a living and these livelihoods are considered sustainable if they are recovering from stress and shocks while not destroying the natural resource base.

However, the study has consisted nine chapters and discussing in chapter one and two, a short introduction, study background, objective, theoretical and conceptual framework on Food and Nutrition Security and methodology of this research have been discussed. In chapter three, Profile of the study, social mapping, educational and religious, occupational, infrastructure background has been discussed. In chapter four and five, the causes of Food and Malnutrition, food access, availability,utilization and nutrition, socio-economic factor and gender dimension of the nutrition status has been focused. In chapter six and seven, food security and child nutrition status,socio-economic and socio-demographic background and Food and Nutrition security within the sustainable livelihood, its impact and intra-livelihood context has been focused. In chapter Eight and Nine, the role of policy to improving food and nutrition security and summary and conclusion of this research has been discussed.

Bangladesh is one of the deeply populated countries in the world within nearly 20% to 30% population under extreme poverty and its major challenge is to feed its huge number of population. Poverty is the major cause of Food and Nutrition insecurity, but the essential elements of the concept of food security are availability of food, ability to acquire it from the market and the ability to utilize the consumed food in the body system which is always face challenges to poverty. However, different measures (income, expenditure and calorie intake) provide different figures regarding its incidence.

In almost every major urban centre, thousands of people live in overcrowded slums, on streets, or in other public places that lack basic facilities, such as food, safe water, sanitation, and health services. Bangladesh has experienced one of the highest urban population growth rates more than 6% per year in the last three decades compared to the national population growth rate of about 1.5% per year. Dhaka is the fastest growing mega-city in the world, with an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 new migrants, mostly poor, arriving to the city annually. Its population is currently around 12 million and is projected to grow to 20 million in 2020, making it the world’s third largest city.(Bangladesh Development Series;2007) Most migrants come from rural areas in search of opportunities which can provide new livelihood options for millions, translating to improvements in living standards. The numbers of urban poor and street dwellers are likely to increase at least in proportion to the overall population growth. The urban population was estimated at 28,808,477 in 2001; however, this became double in 2010 if the current growth continues. (BBS, Household Income and Expenditure Survey of 2010) Employment, shelter, and basic services accessible to the growing number of urban poor have become a major socio-economic and policy issue in Bangladesh. Generally, the health indicators for urban areas are better than those for rural areas of Bangladesh; however, there is great disparity among a heterogeneous urban population. Many parts of towns and cities in Bangladesh have extremely poor environmental and living conditions and lack basic amenities, public-healthcare facilities, and outreach services. The street poor are particularly deprived in terms of basic health indicators. Surveillance data from Dhaka for the 2006-2010 periods indicate that the contraceptive prevalence was only 44.7% in slum areas. A similar rate (45.4%) was found for slum areas in the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS: 2011) compared to 54.9% in non-slum areas. The antenatal care (ANC) coverage was 31.5% in slum areas and 54.7% in non-slum areas. A household survey conducted in Dhaka and Chittagong in 1996 found even greater disparity in the use of ANC. In slum areas, only 18% of pregnant women had made at least one visit compared to 55% of women visited in non-slum areas. The surveillance of households in Dhaka in 1991-1993 indicated that the use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) was very low in slum areas with no health intervention (33.1%), and the two-week prevalence rate for diarrheal diseases among children aged less than five years was high (20.3%). A similar rate (18.2%) was found for slum areas in the BDHS 2005-2010 compared to 15.5% for non-slum areas. Another survey in 1999 of slum and non-slum areas in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, found disparity in access to services under the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), with BCG coverage rates of 80% and 95% respectively. Only 57% of children aged 12-23 months in the slum area had full immunization. Another study in a slum area of Dhaka in 1995-1998 found an infant mortality rate of 135.2 per 1,000 live births among the lowest socioeconomic quartile (based on household income) compared to 71.5 per 1,000 live births for Bangladesh as a whole for the 2005-2010 period.( source: RITs; 2010 )