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‘Pusti corners’ for decreasing malnutrition of children

TBP Online
27 May 2024 12:05:01 | Update: 27 May 2024 12:09:10
‘Pusti corners’ for decreasing malnutrition of children
— Courtesy Photo

Ramiz Uddin and Shaheda Akther were happy as they were blessed with a child after 10 years of married life. Aysha was spending busy time with her baby. Now their son Alauddin is one year and eight months old. But he is not so healthy as per his age.

Last couple of days, Alauddin is not taking food and just crying. Later, his parents went to Sreemangal upazila health complex. Doctors advised them to admit Alauddin in the child ward of the health complex as he suffered with severe malnutrition.

Alauddin’s weight is only six and a half kilograms when his weight would have been nine to 10-kg at his age and his height is also not enough. Shaheda said she was married off at the age of only 15 years. Alauddin is the only son of their 10-years of married life.

Like Alauddin, three-year-old Rabbi Mian, two-and-a-half-year-old Sunny and four-year-old Paritosh were also admitted at the health complex with severe malnutrition.

Partitosh’s mother Rani Dey said her son was suffering severe malnutrition from an early age. He was only 1.5 kg after birth. Four months ago he was admitted to hospital. After five days of treatment, the doctors released him (Paritosh) and gave him some medicines with vitamins. Now, her weight increased and his weight is 12 kg. But he is not as much as tall as per his age, Rani added.

According the registers of health complexes and other hospitals and clinics of Sylhet and Moulvibazar, many children have been admitted with severe malnutrition and height complexity.

Different non-government organizations (NGOs) are working along with local government health complexes.

Experts said the United Nations (UN) gave importance on nutrition to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As per the SDG-2, hunger-free, achieving food security and removing all types of malnutrition are must. So, the government should give more importance on the issue of malnutrition, they added.

Child specialists Professor Dr Monir Hossain of Dhaka Shishu Hospital said many mothers are not aware about the breastfeeding of their child from the first day of birth to two years. Even, they are not aware that nutrition is how much essential for their children from her pregnancy to two years of birth.

According to a survey of UNICEF, conducted in 2013, low education rate of mother and crisis of socio-economic are related to malnutrition of their children.

As per the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2014, the percentage of short children from one to five years is 36 percent while it was 41 percent in 2011, 43 percent in 2007 and 51 percent in 2004. As per the report, the rate of short children is higher in Sylhet division which was 49.6 per cent in 2014.

The NGOs are working for adequate knowledge, eliminating poverty for mothers and children and empowering the women economically.\Dr Monir said adequate nutrition is needed for the overall development of children. Otherwise, they would also suffer mentally. Lack of proper awareness of parents and early marriages are the main reasons behind the malnutrition of children.

Department of Family Planning Director of nutrition Dr Mohammad Younus said the rate of malnutrition is being decreased. “There are ‘Pusti Corner’ (nutrition corner) in every upazila health complex across the country. Besides, our field-level employees are advising mothers and fathers as well about the nutrition of children and mother,” he added.