UNICEF calls for greater international support for improving Myanmar children's nutrition
Xinhua, 08 September 2005
Yangon: The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has called for greater international support to protect Myanmar's children and women against malnutrition, particularly anemia.
The appeal was made at the end of the 3rd annual Nutrition Promotion Week here Wednesday by UNICEF's office in Myanmar.
"UNICEF needs additional funding to protect more children and mothers in Myanmar against anemia and other causes of chronic malnutrition," UNICEF acting representative Elke Wisch was quoted as saying by a press release issued Thursday.
Since parasitic infections are one major underlying cause of anemia in Myanmar, UNICEF works with health personnel to provide deworming medication to pregnant women and children two and nine years of age throughout the country, it said.
UNICEF is also working with rural health services to provide approximately 70 million iron foliate tablets for 350,000 pregnant women across the country this year, as well as 207,000 bottles of iron syrup for children in target areas, it added.
"The progress made in curbing vitamin A deficiency and iodine deficiency in Myanmar shows us that we can also significantly reduce anemia among children and women with the right support and funding," Wisch stressed.
The national nutrition promotion week, also known as the Vitamin A supplement campaign jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Mines, the UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), began on last Thursday to raise the standard of nutrition, eradicate nutrition deficiency and encourage the cultivation of good eating habits.
The campaign also includes distribution of iron tablets to expectant mothers and competition for the cooking and preparation of the most nutritious food for children under five years old.
Myanmar has been carrying out the program for children annually, aimed at protecting children from vitamin A deficiency, building up resistance and immunity against infectious diseases of all kinds and bringing down the incidence of disease and the rate of infant mortality.
Myanmar claimed that it has attained a nearly 100-percent success rate with little or no cases of children losing their eye sight arising out of the deficiency.