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Eating on a Bangladesh budget: Day three

Inspired by a visit to Bangladesh with Save the Children, I’m trying to eat on 40p per day – like the villagers we met.

My progress so far

  • Total spent: £1.13
  • Calories consumed: 5,000
  • Shortfall in calories: 17%
  • Underspend:  6%

Missed breakfast

A challenging day in many respects. Not enough time to make breakfast before going to a hospital appointment with my wife. I’d not allowed for the time it takes to make food from raw ingredients instead of simply pouring out the muesli.  By 3pm, when we got home, I was running on empty.

An accident of birth

Two things struck me forcibly – first, the privilege of free medical treatment when you need it and second that the coffee my wife drank while we waited for the (free) prescription had cost enough to feed me for a week on the Bangladeshi diet. 

By an accident of birth, we not only benefit from services and luxuries out of reach to most of the world’s population, we also often take them for granted.

A vicious spiral

This was particularly poignant because in the remote village (Pailakandi) in Bangladesh that we visited they have no medical care at all.  Giving birth is so risky that some women limit their already meagre food intake during pregnancy to reduce the risk of having a big baby.

We were told that 40% of newborns are below a safe birth weight and 43% of mothers are too malnourished to breastfeed their babies –  the ultimate vicious spiral.

Build it for Babies

Save the Children has raised £1m to build a clinic for pregnant women and their babies in Pailakandi and six other villages, and building has now started.  Even when they are complete there will still be plenty of villages with no provision.

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