ZHOB: ‘‘Malnutrition among children is one of the biggest problems as 16.1 percent children are suffering from the disease. The stunting rate among children increased to 52 percent due to malnutrition. We have entered the emergency phase with 88 percent of breastfeeding failure.”
This was revealed by Nutrition Officer BNPMC Alamgir Mandokhail, while speaking a seminar on malnutrition and mother and child health organized by People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) in collaboration with Balochistan Nutrition Program for Mothers and Children (BNMPC) here at circuit house. MS DHQ civil hospital Dr, Akhter Mandokhail, EPI Coordinator Dr. Zain ud Din, Tahir Hotak and others in a large number attended the seminar.
He said that a major contributor to childhood malnutrition was the poor state of infants feeding. He termed malnutrition as the root cause of stunting among the children with highest rate. “The percentage of children with stunted growth is 52%. Stunted children are those who fail to attain height according to their age due to malnutrition.” The nutrition officer explained.
Highlighting the importance of breastfeeding he said that it safeguards the newly born babies from malnutrition and other ailments. Unfortunately the cultural barriers here also made it complicated for mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively. The breast’s milk within first hour of the birth is not only rich in protective factors but also reduces infant mortality rate. In Islam the breastfeeding is very clearly encouraged. He added.
“The mothers should initiate breastfeeding in the very first hour after birth and exclusively breastfeed the baby for the next six months”, adding it was an unequaled way to provide a perfect and ideal food to the infants for their healthy growth.
He advised. Over 6700 children were screened for identification of malnutrition, out of them over 800 children found sever acute malnourished in Zhob. “The Nutrition program provides free food supplements to children including Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), he added”
DSM PPHI while briefing the participants said that PPHI was struggling for improving the healthcare services in the periphery of the district. In order to achieve substantial improvements, the organization has initiated several activities which have a positive impact on the health care system. “PPHI has established EPI Static centers in seven out of 17 Basic Health Units (BHUs). Mother and Child Health centers at BHU Garda Babar and BHU Khan Alam and diagnostic laboratories have been established at Garda and Appozai BHU to deliver services, he maintained”.
Highlighting the gravity of malnutrition as a problem he said 14 OTPs centers have been established for malnourished children. Moreover he said support group meetings, school health sessions and community health sessions have also been conducted in different parts of the district, he concluded.