DHAKA, March 10 (BSS) - Child malnutrition is prevailing high among poor families in Chalan Beel area of northern region of the country due to lack of adequate health services, enough food and proper health knowledge.
Most of the poor infant and young children have been seen weak and thin and they are often affected by different diseases. This is the common scenario among the children of underprivileged families in the Chalan Beel area.
The children in remote areas of the region are growing up through the vicious cycle of poverty that deprive them of necessary healthcare facilities and sufficient food, doctors in the local hospital and common people made the comment while talking to BSS.
Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer of Singra Hospital of Natore Dr Anjuman Ara said nearly four lakh people live in Singra and of them the number of under two children is about 15,000 and children under five are 50,000.
There are four health centers in the Singara upazila, she said adding the government has set up 37 community clinics in remote areas of the upazila and seven more community clinics are now under construction.
Dr Anjuman said shortage of adequate manpower and infrastructure hampers the process of providing healthcare facilities to the people.
The government has taken step to train health workers of the community clinics under Singra upazila for providing better healthcare to the people of the remote areas, she said
Dr Anjuman said the trained health workers will keep valuable
contribution to provide healthcare facilities among the people in
Chalan Beel area, which will help for improving nutritional status of children.
The government has taken various programmes including distribution of vitamin A plus capsules and de-worming tablets along with immunization campaign to keep the children healthy, she added.
Dr Anjuman said manpower problems in Singhra Hospital and health centres under the upazila should be removed to provide better services to the people in the Chalan Beel area.
She stressed the need for launching massive campaign to create awareness among the people in the Chalan Beel area on different health issues for keeping their children healthy.
Robi Chand Mia, resident of Damdam village under Singra upazila, said he has one and half year old girl child and he can not feed enough food to his children due to economic hardship.
He said health condition of his daughter Rima Khatun is not good and often she suffers from different diseases.
Robi said, "We could not give proper treatment to our child
due to poverty and we also face problem to get necessary treatment from government hospital or health center."
Many infant and young children in Chalan Beel area like Rima Khatun are not getting adequate healthcare facilities, which are creating adverse consequences on their health.
Professor Dr Khursheed Jahan of Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of Dhaka University said infant and young children should be given sufficient nutritious diets along with proper health care facilities.
She said both physical and mental development of children will be hampered, if they are not given sufficient diets.
Prof Khursheed observed most of the people in remote areas like Chalan Beel area do not have adequate knowledge on health issues, which is largely responsible for malnutrition.
Special programmes should be taken to educate people in the remote areas on different health issues so that they can take proper care for keeping of their children healthy.
Chairperson of Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation Dr SK Roy said malnutrition rate among the poor children in remote areas of the country are still high as they do not have adequate health knowledge and sufficient availability of food.
Poor people of the country particularly in rural areas face problem to manage enough food for their family members, he said adding, "Children of poor family suffer from different magnitude of malnutrition because of having insufficient food."
Dr Roy said, "We have to ensure food security for the poor people of rural areas particularly vulnerable areas of the country for improving nutritional status of children,"
According to Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey (BDHS) 2007,the weight-for-age results show that 41 percent of children under five are underweight and 12 percent are severely underweight.
It also said 43 percent of children under five are little in size, and 16 percent are very little than average size in comparison to their age.