14% of those under five are underweight

By Rathindra Kuruwita

It had been found in August 2022 that about 14.6% of children under five were under weight, Family Health Bureau Consultant Dr. Kaushalya Kasthuriarachchi said yesterday in Colombo.Nuwara Eliya had recorded the highest percentage of under-weight children under five, she said.

“21% of children under five in Nuwara Eliya were under-weight last month. In Vavuniya, 19.9% of children under five in were under weight. In Ampara 18.5% of children under five were under weight,” Dr. Kasthuriarachchi said.

She said that compared to developed nations there were nutritional issues. However, the situation had not reached an emergency levels she said. Sri Lanka was still ahead of many developing nations in terms of health indicators, Dr. Kasthuriarachchi said.Dr. Hiranya Jayawickrama, Consultant Community Physician at Family Health Bureau said that chronic malnutrition was low in Sri Lanka. “This is not a reason for the government or the people to be complacent,” she said.

“Things are not as bad as some people suggest. However, things might change rapidly for the worst if the current economic crisis continues and food security situation worsens. I don’t think anyone can underestimate the threat we are facing,” she said.

At the Ampara District Agriculture Committee meeting, Chamini Somadasa, Assistant Commissioner of Agrarian Development, said that they had asked the government to provide 175.5 kilos of urea, 38.5 kilos of Triple superphosphate (TSP) and 42 kilos of Muriate of Potash (MOP) per hectare of paddy.However, the farmers, who had gathered insisted that they would not commence farming until they were given a cast iron guarantees that fertilizer would be provided.

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