Children with malnutrition may rise this year - Minister | Daily News

Children with malnutrition may rise this year - Minister

Education Minister Susil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday (7) that due to the social and economic situation in the country in 2021,   an increase in the number of children suffering from malnutrition can be expected.

The minister said that compared to 2016, there is a short-term decrease in the nutritional status of the students going to schools in Sri Lanka in 2020 and due to the prevailing COVID situation, the correct information in this regard has not been revealed so far.

However, the minister said that in order to reduce the malnutrition among school children, many programs including providing meals to the identified children are being implemented and for this purpose, the support of national and international organizations will be sought.

Education Minister Susil Premajayanth stated this while replying to a question raised by Member of Parliament Thushara Indunil Amarasena.

In 2015 and 2021, the Family Health Bureau of the Health Ministry did not conduct the school health medical examination and made a national level assessment.

The minister also said that the shortness index of students explains the malnutrition caused by long-term nutritional deficiencies, while the stunting index reveals information about the malnutrition caused by short-term nutritional deficiencies.

From 2016 to 2020, the values of shortness and thinness of students are as follows. Due to the fact that schools have been closed for a long time due to the COVID situation, there has been no proper collection of information for school medical examinations. Micro-nutritional conditions also affect children’s mental health. Also, according to MRI data, children between 6 to 19 years have iron deficiency, vitamin A and D deficiency to some extent.

As per the statistics of the Family Health Bureau, when considering the shortness index, there has been a 0.4 percent decrease in long-term malnutrition in 2017 compared to 2016, and an increase of 0.8 percent in 2020 compared to 2018.

According to the Thinnes Index, malnutrition caused by short-term nutritional deficiencies shows a decrease of 3.15 percent in 2020 compared to 2016.

Meanwhile, quoting data, the minister said that micro nutrient deficiencies also have an impact on children’s malnutrition.

Compared to 2016, there is a decrease in the short-term malnutrition status of school going students in Sri Lanka in 2020.

“But due to the social and economic situation in the country in the year 2021, these index values have increased and we can expect an increase in the number of children suffering from malnutrition.

This year, if it is possible to obtain reports on school health conditions properly, it is possible to present the above information correctly. The Education Ministry has taken various measures with the support of the Health Ministry to eliminate the malnutrition of school students.” he said.

 


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