According to data, nine out of ten children under five who have severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and other health issues in Bangladesh will still not be covered for treatment in 2022.
According to the World Health Organization, SAM stands for light weight for height.
According to data provided at a session yesterday in a Dhaka hotel, only 23,400 were discovered through screening, whereas 12,083 were admitted to hospital units, specialized arrangements at healthcare facilities.
Over 11,000 SAM children with problems were treated by the SAM facilities in 2021.
According to Dr. Moniruzzaman, program manager for the National Nutrition Service (NNS) at the health directorate, the lack of community-based SAM management is the primary cause of this low coverage.
In December of last year, the NNS and Unicef conducted an assessment that showed that half of the SAM units at 436 public health facilities were not operating effectively.
Participants in the discussion during the event claimed that this inefficiency is another cause of the low coverage.
According to the study, there were six main reasons for the inefficiency, including more resources like weighing scales and therapeutic foods and a shortage of qualified medical professionals.
Just 225 SAM units had a stock of F-100 therapeutic food, and 268 had a supply of F-75 therapeutic food, according to the 15-day assessment conducted by the investigators.
SAM kids with health issues are fed F-75 and F-100 to help them gain weight.
Meanwhile, the quantity of these commodities in the store has drastically decreased. In the government stock, there were only 321 cartons of F-75 and 142 cartoons of F-100.
Dr ATM Reaz Uddin, deputy project manager at NNS, presented the assessment’s findings and warned that these medicinal foods will be severely scarce if the issue still needs to be resolved by April.
According to the study, a trained service provider was absent in almost 61% of SAM units.
Divisional health directors and health professionals from the DGHS and UNICEF stressed throughout the session that the current SAM management program has to be revised to focus on the needs of the poor.
“Most children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition come from low-income homes. Without assistance, it is difficult for their guardians to stay in hospitals for extended periods for therapy, “Dr Muniruzzaman remarked.
During the ceremony, Dr Monzurul Murshid, director of health for the Khulna Division, remarked that many healthcare facilities lack the equipment necessary to support a SAM unit.
“Moreover, there is a lack of initiative on the part of health officials to maintain the SAM units’ regular operation. No progress has been made despite repeated instructions [at several institutions], “said he.
Chief guest and DGHS Director General Prof. Abul Bashar Mohammed Khurshid Alam spoke at the occasion, which was presided over by Line Director of NNS Dr Md. Abdul Mannan.