Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nearly 3,000 children below three years of age receive UNICEF-supported Micronutrient Sprinkles in Myanmar’s Thabaung Township

Zee Phyu Kwin village tract, Thabaung township, Ayeyarwaddy Region, September 15, 2012: Than Than Myint, mother of 18-month old boy Lin Lin Tun became convinced of the benefits of micronutrient sprinkles as she saw its effects on her child’s health after he received it as the supplement in May and June 2012.

Baby Lin Lin was sick and had to be hospitalized in the Pathein Township only nine days after he was born with frequent diarrhoea and skin disease.
He was generally unwell, getting sick every now and then. He did not eat and sleep well. He had sores and skin diseases all over his body,” Than Than Myint said, “Until he was hospitalized where the treatment started and I started giving him micronutrient sprinkles along with his food.”

“I mixed sprinkles with hot rice, edible oil and salt. At first, my son did not like to take it due to the unfamiliar smell. I also mixed it in the fish or shrimp paste, sometimes in fish or shrimp soup to feed him,” said Than Than Myint.
“Gradually my son recovered from frequent episodes of sickness after being fed sprinkles for a month. Even his sores and skin problems abated. He had developed a good appetite, ate and slept more regularly. He started looking healthy and was growing” said Than Than Myint by showing an empty Sprinkle sachet.

UNICEF started an intervention of micro-nutrient sprinkles In collaboration with National Nutrition Centre (NNC), UNICEF started an intervention of micro-nutrient sprinkles in May- June 2012 for 3,000 children between the ages of six months and three years in Thabaung Township in Ayeyarwaddy Region. The aim was to effectively address iron deficiency and other micronutrient deficiencies among children.

Prior to the roll out, NNC conducted an intensive training course on micro-nutrient for 70 basic health workers from Thabaung Township in the first week of March this year.

“I participated in the training; it improved my knowledge on nutrition. It is cost effective intervention for children especially for the parents living in poverty,” said Daw Su Myat Mon, midwife from Zee Phyu Kwin village’s RHC.

Basic Health Workers from Zee Phyu Kwin village tract organized health talks on micronutrient sprinkles for the mothers of children below three years at the Rural Health Centre and Sub-centres in April and distributed 60 Sprinkle sachets to every mother with children below three years for two months, May and June.
“We educated mothers to use one sachet a day for a child. They needed a lot of persuading to make it a part of the children’s regular meals. We had to convince parents that not only will be help reduce anaemia but will also boost children’s growth and health,” said midwife Daw Su Myat Mon.

Each Sprinkle sachet contains vitamins and minerals which are important elements for prevention of iron deficiency anaemia and other micronutrient deficiencies among children.

“We have achieved highly impressive results in the most recent round of implementation. Morbidity among children has significantly declined and growth rates have shown better improvements than before,” said Dr. Kyaw Win Sein, Nutrition Specialist in UNICEF Myanmar.

Common childhood illnesses related to malnutrition have significantly declined after distribution of micronutrient sprinkle in the village tract.

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