English | Dzongkha Sunday, February 23, 2020

‘Sprinkles’- a micronutrient powder for children

Sep 12, 2019

To address childhood anaemia and stunting, the Ministry of Health, with the support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched the ‘Sprinkles’ – a micronutrient powder, which can be easily mixed at home to make food more nutritious for children.

The minister for health launched the Sprinkles in Samtse, today. Sprinkles, a blend of 15 vitamins and minerals packed in one gram of sachet are essential for child health, growth, and development.

The vitamins and minerals are for children aged between 6 to 23 months. Children in this age have increased nutritional needs and are at a higher risk of developing deficiencies.

At the launch, the Health Minister said the ministry is confident that after successfully scaling up this programme, the government would be able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and families in Bhutan.

“This is a small intervention. Our long term vision is that we want to empower and educate all our mothers so they know what is the right food they need to feed their children and what is the right way of feeding our children,” said DechenWangmo, the Minister for Health.

The national nutrition survey, 2015 found that two in five children were anaemic, while one in five were stunted in Bhutan, a serious public health issue according to the World Health Organisation.

The ministry is targeting to reach the Sprinkles programme across the country by June next year. Health centres will distribute the sprinkles when mothers and caregivers bring their child for routine growth monitoring.

Anaemia and stunting, particularly among infants and children, impact on cognitive and motor development of a child.

“UNICEF is happy to be part of this important event that secures the wellbeing of our children at a critical age. The introduction of sprinkles will bring an immediate impact on children’s growth and development by providing quality complementary foods and improving these. The United Nations remains committed to working with the RGOB in improving the health of our children and ensuring that our children are not deprived of the nutrition that they need to grow,” added Dr Will Parks, the Representative of UNICEF Bhutan.

The Sprinkles programme is a part of the accelerating maternal and child health policy, which is working on accelerating the health outcomes of all mother and children in Bhutan.

The sprinkles programme was piloted in nine health centres in three dzongkhags of Samtse, Dagana and Monggar. An assessment of the programme in these three dzongkhags found high user acceptability and compliance with the multi-nutritional powder (MNP).

Sherub Dorji

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