Tharparkar Camp by PNDS Team:
Tharparkar Camp by PNDS Team:
Report by: Fayza Khan, President, Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society
Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic society (PNDS) aims to represent, promote and advance the science and profession of nutrition in order to achieve better nutritional status for the population in Pakistan. This year the death toll in the famine-hit Tharparkar region from drought has risen above 500 people, including 41 children due to malnutrition and its consequences during last few months.
PNDS realizing its national and social responsibility has decided to set-up its First Relief Camp during the month of November 2014 at a village named Haryaar at Tharparkar which was on 30 minutes’ drive from Mithi as there was no health facility available in that area. The purpose of this activity was to assess current situation of the people at Tharparkar in terms of food availability, intake, other resources and its effects on health so that PNDS can plan how to serve them.
Team of eight PNDS members including four nutritionists, two dietitians and two pediatricians volunteered their services for this camp. Mr Hans Masroor Badvi arranged logistics and was in contact with the local communities.
Those Infants and children who visited the camp were assessed for malnutrition most of the infants and children were found to be underweight. After initial consultation provided by Pediatricians, children and mothers were referred to the nutritionist for nutrition counseling. Mothers were counseled for homemade weaning food and hygiene and sanitation. During counseling session nutritionists provided them cost effective tips for homemade food. Pregnant and lactating mothers were also counseled for healthy diet and to improve their dietary intake at low cost. Food items were distributed among mothers and children included mineral water bottles, milk packs, nutritional supplements, Cream biscuits, Spaghettis, peanuts, roasted daal, Soji halwa, Butter and Jam sachets. Vit A & D, Zinc syrups, ORS was also provided as per needs of the children and their mothers. By taking diet history the following observations were made by the team members.
- Wells and water reservoirs were found dried and empty. Wood is used as fuel and when it is unavailable raw milk is consumed. Bread (roti) and chatni (mainly green chilies) was found as stable food.
- Infants till age of six months and even upto 2 years were only fed on mother milk and mothers were not aware of homemade weaning diet for children above 6 months of age .Dietary intake is limited to roti , tea & chatni. The consumption of fruits and a vegetable is almost nil due to high cost and unavailability. It was found that fruits and vegetables are not grown locally due to unavailability of water.
- Due to unavailability of fuel and water, intake of homemade food is further reduced.
- Most of the people including children consume beetle nut (Chalia).
- It was also identified while taking history that many children eat clay. These children were referred back to the pediatrician for antihelminths medication.
- Head ache was prevalent among women and older adults
Other than to provide them basis necessities of life like drinking water ,food & other resources at Govt. level. There is a desperate need to initiate on going supplementary feeding programs which includes nutritious food in addition to the general ration, aiming to prevent the deterioration of the nutritional state of those who are at risk by meeting their nutritional needs, focusing particularly on young children, pregnant woman, nursing mothers, elderly .Health education and counseling sessions should be the part of program to combat cycle of malnutrition in that region.
PNDS is thankful to Matrix Pharma for their extended cooperation in arrangement of this visit.