What happened to Sri Lanka- Sri Lanka is second only to India in terms of malnutrition in South Asia-(GMOA)

Here is a press release issued by the Government Medical Officers Association.

 Press release

A series of six-step proposals from the Association of Government Medical Officers to reduce the severe and adverse effects of childhood malnutrition, which is becoming more acute in the face of the current economic crisis. The impact of the current economic crisis on people’s lives is not insignificant.

Food inflation, which is increasing day by day, has become unbearable for the common people. The impact on the low-income community is huge. There are two main decisions that the vast majority of people can make about meeting their nutritional needs during the current crisis.

1. Reducing the number of meals and reducing the quantity of food intake.
2. Decreasing food quality to reduce cost per meal

All this leads to a state of malnutrition. It is undeniable that the main impact of malnutrition is on infants and children. In addition, pregnant mothers are also at particular risk. Malnutrition of today’s generation of children, who will become the workforce of the future, paints a bleak picture for the future of the country as a whole. Therefore, the impact on the country’s future through rising infant and child malnutrition is critical.

Several international organizations, including UNICEF, have already warned about the dangerous situation that is emerging. According to them, 5.7 million of the total population of the country are directly affected by the food crisis.

Among them, special attention should be given to the presence of 2.3 million children. According to UNICEF’s estimate, approximately $25 million will be needed to provide relief to the identified vulnerable groups.

According to international reports, Sri Lanka is second only to India in terms of malnutrition in South Asia. As a professional association related to the health sector, we propose the following six-step program to the authorities regarding the current risk situation.

1. The Ministry of Health should immediately come up with a national program to provide society with basic knowledge about choosing quality and nutritious food. Special attention should be paid here to the introduction of relatively inexpensive food substitutes and quality protein food sources.

2. A proper survey should be done to identify risk groups at the provincial, district and health medical officer division levels and a program should be announced immediately for practical interventions targeting the identified risk groups.

3. A relief package containing a nutrition bag with a quality protein source should be immediately introduced to low-income groups among the infants, children and pregnant mothers.

4. Under the guise of providing relief in the current crisis, proper technical intervention should be done to limit the promotion of foods that are not safe for health and increase the risk of non-communicable diseases including diabetes in the future.

5. The school lunch program aimed at school children should be made into a more robust and practical program and should be continued.

6. A special presidential task force with interagency participation should be immediately established to manage the overall food crisis and reduce the future impact of malnutrition on children.

 We as an association pledge our unconditional support to the positive efforts of the authorities in this regard.

thank you. 

Dr Haritha Aluthge Secretary.