In an alarming revelation for Nepal, nearly 21 percent of the country’s children suffer from zinc deficiency.
A report released by Nepal National Micronutrient Status Survey (NNMSS) on August 29,2018 indicates a negative trend in the early growth of children between the age groups of 6 and 59 months.
This has a high chance of stunting children’s growth and makes them vulnerable to diseases such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
Dr. Santosh Manandhar, paediatrician at Kanti Children’s Hospital says breastfeeding up to a certain age is a must for children’s overall growth.
“A child experiences a deficiency of micronutrients such as zinc if they are not fed proper nutritional diets such as mother’s milk. The chances of stunting, hypogonadism and poor immunity in a child are high due to such deficiency.”
Health experts identify unhealthy diet and lifestyle as responsible for the deficiency of micronutrients. However, figures suggest that people with access to healthy diet and lifestyle also suffer micronutrient deficiency.
Drinking water, sanitation and provision of quality food are essential to fight the deficiency of micronutrients. Hence, experts urge authorities to pay attention to these areas.
Following are the detailed findings of the report:
The government will use this report as reference to implement various nutrition plans across the country.
“The health of children and women should not be ignored at any cost. The NNMSS report will be of great help in making further plans and policies,” said Surendra Kumar Yadav, State Minister, Ministry of Health and Population.
What do Experts Say?
“Minimizing the deficiency of micronutrients is only possible with multi-sectoral approach. The government should have a holistic approach to dealing with problems in corresponding sectors like sanitation, water, and livestock,” said Dr Sushil Nath Pyakurel, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Health and Population.
“Nepalis have easy access to food items rich in micronutrients because of our diverse and rich agricultural produce in all the geographic regions. Yet, people fail to eat regularly these quality foods due to the lack of awareness of the food and ways to prevent malnutrition,” said Dr. RP Bichha, Director, Nepal Family Health Division.
We hope that Nepal’s Health Sector is able to tackle this scenario with help from nutritionists, scientists and parents of these children.