Appeals have been made to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to assist Sri Lanka in ensuring a continuous daily supply of Thriposha for children below five years, pregnant women and breast feeding mothers.
When contacted on Friday (29 April), Health Ministry sources said however that they were yet to receive a response from the two UN organisations. The shortage of corn to produce the dietary supplement for babies and mothers had stopped the production of Thriposha temporarily. Medical Officers of Health, in several parts of the country, were unable to issue the free dietary supplement for the under-fives, pregnant and new mothers.
Providing pregnant mothers with Thriposha helped largely in preventing future malnutrition in children after birth. Sources said that discussions were also being held with the State Ministry of Women and Child Development, Pre School and Primary Education and the Thriposha Company to look for alternatives for the type of grain that was currently being used.
“A possible alternative for corn, which is in short supply, due to the Forex crisis, is being looked at.”
Triposha is distributed through Family Health Officers serving under the Medical Offices of Health (MoH).
State Minister for Women and Child Development, Pre-School and Primary Education, Piyal Nishantha de Silva said that it had been several days since production had been stopped due to the shortage of corn. “We don’t grow the adequate amount of corn locally and depend largely on the quantities that are imported,” he explained.
That too, the corn taken for Thriposha manufacturing should be of a particular quality. However the State Ministry hoped to use the Indian credit line, once it received it, to import corn and recommence production, he added.
BY Dilanthi Jayamanne