Despite spending billions, Nepal still plagued by nutrition deficiency

Between 2006 and 2016, Nepal had spent billions of rupees schemes to tackle the problem of anemia in the country, but these programs have very little or no impact to address the issue

Feb 22, 2021
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Between 2006 and 2016, Nepal had spent billions of rupees schemes to tackle the problem of anemia in the country, but these programs have very little or no impact to address the issue. Around 41 percent of women between the age of 15 and 49 and 53 percent of children between 6 and 59 months were anaemic, found a survey by Nepal Demographic Health Survey-2016. 

This is the result despite the fact that the Ministry of Health and Population has for years now has been distributing iron and folic acid supplementation to women and micronutrient powder to children throughout the country to address the issue of malnutrition.

“Despite various efforts made by the authorities, anemia is still prevalent in the country. The problem seems to be worsening instead,” Dr. Aruna Uprety, a public health expert, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post.

“Billions of rupees are being spent to address the problem but studies show that our efforts are not working at all,” she added.

The report claimed that the situation worsened after the pandemic. Around 12 percent of children under five suffer from wasting in Nepal. Wasting in children, if not treated properly, is associated with a higher risk of death, according to the report. The problem is very severe in Nepal’s province-2.

“To address the moderately acute malnutrition problem, we are procuring super cereal plus, a complimentary food to breast milk, worth Rs 100 million,” Kedar Parajuli, the chief of the nutrition section, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post. The World Food Program will also provide its support for the distribution.

Despite years of efforts in this direction, Nepal is yet to see a substantial result. In the absence of that, experts call for a review of strategy. Many say the government hasn’t yet ordered a formal review of the programs and government officials appear to benefit from extending the problem.

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