Speakers for standard services from nutritionists, dieticians

Speakers at a webinar on Tuesday stressed the need for ensuring standard services from nutritionists and dieticians as there is currently no specific regulatory authority to monitor their services.

They recommended forming a regulatory body to monitor and evaluate services provided by clinical nutritionists and dieticians, as well as a well-structured system for certification, evaluation, internship, and service of the clinical nutritionists and dieticians.

Two non-government organisations — Eminence and Bangladesh Civil Society Network for Promoting Nutrition (BCSNPN) — jointly arranged the webinar titled ‘Nutritionist and Dietician’s Profession: Code of Ethics and Standards,’ according to a press release.

Former DGHS director general Prof Shah Monir Hossain, Director General of Bangladesh National Nutrition Council (BNNC) Dr Khalilur Rahman, former director general of BNNC Dr Shah Nawaz, Professor of Institute of Nutrition and Food Science at Dhaka University Dr Nazma Shaheen, Member of Bangladesh Medical & Dental Council (BM&DC) Prof Dr Sharfuddin Ahmed and Country Director of Alive & Thrive in Bangladesh Dr Zeba Mahmud, among others, spoke at the function moderated by CEO of Eminence Dr Shamim Hayder Talukder.

Speakers said every year some 300 nutritionists graduate from different institutions and universities seeking to work in the development sector, UN agencies, donor organisations, and hospitals, or become private practitioners. But there is no regulatory authority in place to ensure the quality, especially those working at hospitals as dieticians. There is no comprehensive guideline as well to define the roles and functions of dieticians.

Moreover, the professionals are not regulated by law and are not governed by any code of conduct to ensure that they always work to the highest standards. As a result, unethical practices are seen among dieticians.

The speakers said nutritionists and dieticians have a very crucial role to play to improve the nutritional status of the people of Bangladesh.

Due to the lack of responsibility and ethical code, some dieticians unethically promote different food brands through their social media accounts projecting unscientific attitude to the public and putting the status of public health in danger, they said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh