On the warpath

Six weeks ago, the Annual Health Bulletin announced that 37% of our children are stunting, that 4.6% of them are wasting, and that 11.1% are underweight.

This week, we learnt that the Right to Food Assessment Study concluded that 26.6% of our households are undernourished. That would also roughly mean that about a quarter of our population is undernourished. The study, it seems, was conducted sometime last year by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture.

And recently, the Basic Health Worker in Chali has reported that “the number of malnourished children under the age of five in Chali geog under Mongar has almost doubled in just one year.”

We now know, from independent sources, that our people are undernourished. And that our children are stunting, wasting and underweight. So what are we doing about it? Not much. In fact, we seem to be doing nothing to specifically address this crisis.

What should we do? “Wage a WAR AGAINST MALNUTRITION,” cries Zekom. This is what Zekom implores:

Reducing poverty, especially rural poverty, is an obvious answer.

But, children cannot wait for Drukyul to get richer. Our nation’s future is being made NOW.

Wage a WAR AGAINST MALNUTRITION. Take the nourishing food to where the children and infants are — in schools and beyond schools — targeting the nutrition and trace elements missing in their diet.

Make sure to measure outcomes, in physical growth rates of beneficiary children, very frequently. You’ll be amazed how fast it works, if it’s done right. There’s nothing better than rapid positive results to fuel the FIRE in change agents’ belly, and inspire others to join hands.

Countries such as UK, Germany and Japan benefited from such programmes after the World War II. Concentrated orange juice and cod liver oil were delivered to every household with children under certain age in UK. Milk and various sources of vitamins were delivered to every infant and school lunches in Japan. Who financed these? USA. It was the top priority in their postwar reconstruction assistance efforts.

Recruit UNiCEF, UN World Food Programme, and other UN agencies as partners, and tap their global know-how on how to do it and do it right.

Where there is a will, there is a way.


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  1. My suggestion is: Educate our mothers about breast feeding advantages and practices.Not just knowing the advantages of Breast feeding is not enough..the correct way to do it is equally importanty ( timing, amount,positioning etc )..
    Public education ll definately have a positive impact esp in the rural areas. should Organise a series of programmes ( effective ) targeting rural population to educate them on breast feeding, complementary feeding etc..we have to also strengthen (or change )the monitoring of child growth and development ( may be incorporate new ways ) so that measures can be taken to control those who are alredy malnurished.

  2. Before even hoping to wage a war against malnutrition in our country, it is very crucial that the Health Ministry be cleansed of the corruptions, one hundred percent. Unless the hole in the pot is patched well, no matter how much you try to fill it with water, it will never fill the pot. This has been the situation in the Ministry of Health for so long and it is high time, very high time indeed, that we “need” to do something about it. Healthy people means healthy nation and so the Ministry of Health had always enjoyed the highest budgetary allocations in all the previous five year plans. Unfortunately, most of these budgets are either underutilized or corruptly utilized. If we can not eradicate corruption in the Ministry of Health, I don’t think we can eradicate malnourishment and poverty in our country. Waging a war against malnutrition before evicting those corrupted people in the Ministry of Health means another expensive disaster for our country. It will bring more money to the Ministry of Health and it will bring wider smiles on the faces of these corrupted people.

    So I say, let’s wage a WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH before we wage a war against malnoutrition in the country.

  3. The message I get from this post and other similar posts is that what matters more is not the number of facilities that have been established but rather the services that have been delivered and people’s capacity been developed to take care of themselves, starting at the simplest level of being able to mobilize basic necessities for healthy ‘living’ for the whole family or household.

    A very simple message to all service providers, yet one that is demanding of CARE (Commitment, right Attitude, Rigour, good Ethics) in our conscience and LOVE (Loyalty, Orderliness, Vigour, Excellence) in our actions …….


  1. […] ourselves that we still need to wage a war against malnutrition. So I’m reproducing what we discussed last November on this serious […]

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