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Improving the under-nutrition status

To address stunting, wasting, anaemia, and IYCF (infant and young child feeding), the secondary analysis report has recommended revising anaemia control strategy-targeted interventions, strengthening protection, promotion and support for IYCF, and improving diet diversity in households.

The report titled Determinants of Stunting, Wasting, Anaemia and IYCF in Bhutan, which referred and used data from National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2015, provides in-depth information about stunting, wasting, anaemia and IYCF.

NNS 2015 shows a significant drop of stunting cases from 33.5 percent in 2010 to 21 percent in 2015. The wasting and underweight cases dropped from 5.9 percent to 4.3 percent and from 12.7 percent to nine percent respectively.

The report states that the odds of stunting is three and half times higher for children aged six to 23 months and almost six times higher for children aged 24 to 59 months compared to children less than six months old.

Senior programme officer at Department of Public Health (DoPH), Laigden Dzed, said that from zero to five months, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended and that above six months the need for complementary feeding is essential. “In complementary feeding, only 18 percent of people provided a minimum dietary diversity. Out of seven food groups, diverse diet should at least have four food groups.”

In IYCF practices, one of two children is exclusively breastfed from zero to five months of age. From six to 23 months of age, 75 percent has proper meal frequency.

Laigden Dzed said that if a child is living in an urban residence, he has better wealth status, has improved housing condition, has bigger household size and higher maternal education, the odds of being stunted was relatively less.

The report also stated that the prevalence of stunting was higher in the eastern region. The risk of anaemia among adolescent girls and adult women were lower for those living in eastern region compared with those living in other regions of the country.

Anaemia affected 42 percent of children, 32 percent of adolescent girls, and 26 percent of pregnant women.

“There were some evidence that adolescent girls living in school were at a lower risk of anaemia than those living at home,” the report stated.

DoPH in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund launched the report coinciding the world prematurity day yesterday in Thimphu.

Phurpa Lhamo

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