Education and health experts at a round table Thursday blamed the poor health situation for as high as 33 per cent dropout in the country's primary schools, reports BDNEWS.
They recommended concerted efforts from both government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to address the child health issues, such as anaemia, stunted growth and worms to improve the situation.
"It is difficult to ensure increased primary school completion rate without improving the health condition of the school going children," Line Director, Primary Health Care, Md Mahbubur Rahman said this at the roundtable organised by the Save the Children (SC)- USA and the Daily Star at the Spectra Convention Centre in the city.
Editor of the Daily Star Mahfuz Anam moderated the discussion.
Rahman said the rate of enrolment of children in schools is 97 per cent and only 67 per cent of them are able to complete primary education. Ill health of the children is one of the main causes of the dropout leading to lower completion rate, he added.
Director of Health, Population and Nutrition division of SC-USA Nizam Uddin Ahmed said 56 per cent of the children in primary schools suffer from anaemia, 25 per cent from stunting and 49 per cent from roundworm.
He said intensified community mobilisation and developed capacity of the teachers could help address the problem.
"The health issues should be included in primary education curriculum. There is also need for integrating health and education workers," said Director of education sector of SC-USA Habibur Rahman.
MA Faruk, executive director of the NGO Forum for Safe Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, said strong cooperation between the health and education ministries would have better results in addressing the issue.
Mahfuz Anam emphasised on the role of media in achieving development goals and said, "Collaboration among the non-governmental organisations can be developed to recommend area wise measures to the government."
"Involvement of the local government institutions will also contribute to achieving these goals," he added.
Deputy Country Director of the SC-USA Anuradha Harinarayan and Head of School Feeding Programme Mahe Jabin Masud of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Bangladesh also spoke on the occasion.