'Number of children suffering from malnutrition high'


Kathmandu, Oct 23: Most of children under five in the Kathmandu Valley suffer from one or another form of malnutrition, said a study.

The preliminary observation conducted during regular Vitamin A campaign showed that only a nominal number of children from six months to five years of age meet the border line of nutrition.

The government currently is launching a two-day Vitamin A and de-worming campaign targeting children from six months to five years of age.

The government has extended the same campaign for two more days in most earthquake-hit 14 districts, including Kathmandu Valley.

During the four-day long campaign, the Female Community Health Volunteers also are taking brief details of children and parents.

They are examining the size of upper arms (length and width) of children to determine whether or not they are malnourished.

During the visit of some booths in the Kathmandu Valley such as Ratopul, Maitidevi and Baneshwor, the FCHVs shared all most all children are in the Kathmandu City had not met the full nutrition border.

For example, if the size of arms of three years children is 10 cm, it is supposed to have suffered from a severe malnutrition.

Similarly, if the arm size is 12 cm, the kid is under a moderate malnutrition. And it is above 12 cm, the kid is free from the risk of malnutrition.

According to the World Health Organisation, a healthy child under three years should have 17-cm to 18-cm arm size.

“However, very nominal numbers of children have met this border line,” Rupa Maharjan, a volunteer deployed at Ratopul, Kathmandu, said.

Although it is not an indication of malnutrition, it means children are not completely healthy.

“The problem does not exist in village areas where children consume traditional foods and locally produced vegetable,” the FCHVs said.

They said that even the children from the poor most community, who lived on daily wages and worked in the streets were also healthy, the FCHV said.

However, the children, who were from the average family residing in City area, have such a problem.

“Although the size of arms is not enough to calculate the nutrition level of the children, it is an indicator to observe the nutrition level of baby,” Dr. Rajendra Panta, director of the Child Health Division under Department of Health Services, said.

According to national demographic health survey, 41 per cent children in Nepal are suffering from stunting, (height as per the age), 11 per cent are suffering from wasting (weight as per the age). Of them, 2.6 per cent are suffering from severe malnutrition.

During the campaign, the government also distributed micro-nutrition powder in order to scale up nutrition level of the children, Giriraj Subedi, chief of the nutrition section said.


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