BP 100 Madawachchiya
COLOMBO, 31 January 2008: UNICEF says that a truck stopped on Saturday in Madawachchiya containing therapeutic food (known as BP100) for children must be distinguished from another vehicle reported to have been stopped on Monday in Thekkawatte carrying explosives.
The facts pertaining to the Madawachchiya vehicle containing BP100 are as follows:
On Saturday 26 January, at the request of the Deputy Provincial Director of Health Services in Killinochchi, Dr T. Sathiyamoothy, and under the auspices of a Ministry of Health and Nutrition programme, a commercial trucking service contracted to transport a supply of BP100 for severely malnourished children left the Ministry of Nation Building and Development warehouse for Vavuniya. Although the required clearances from the Ministry of Defence and the Commissioner General for Essential Services had been obtained for this shipment days in advance, the truck had inadvertently left without the full documentation.
The truck was stopped by police that afternoon at Madawachchiya, who ascertained that the consignment’s documentation was incomplete, and as a result they decided to hold the vehicle and its contents until the full documentation could be presented.
The BP100 in the truck is destined for the Regional Directors of Health Services in Killinochchi and Mullaitivu, for use under a Ministry of Health initiative, begun in March 2007, known as the Nutrition Rehabilitation Programme for Children with Severe Acute Malnutrition in the North and East. At the request of the government, UNICEF supplies BP100 and transports it to the affected areas. BP 100 is a therapeutic food supplement used throughout the world for severely malnourished children. According to the Deputy Provincial Director in Killinochchi, the supply of 1900 boxes is sufficient for about two months of the programme.
This programme is a part of the government’s focus on the nutritional status of Sri Lankan children, as noted by H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa in paragraph 36 of his 2008 budget speech:
“It is reported that 33 percent of children are underweight, in addition to many facets of nutritional deficiencies in our country. It is proposed to implement an integrated program under the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition… to promote nutritional standard of pregnant and lactating mothers as well as infants with the emphasis on those in the eastern, estate areas as well as other difficult areas.”
BP100 is currently being distributed through maternal and child health clinics in Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, and Batticalloa, through Ministry of Health personnel every two weeks after screening children through growth monitoring sessions. According to the current plan the second phase of the programme will be extended to Ampara and Anuradapura in 2008.
The truck carrying BP100 remains in the custody of Medawachchiya police as of Thursday morning.