MCPA President slams Ministers

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Dr. Chamal Sanjeewa of the Medical and Civil Rights Professional Association of Doctors (MCRPA) lambasted ministers and ministry officials for making false claims about malnutrition in Sri Lanka.

He said, ministers and officials who appeared before the media and claimed that there was no malnourishment and that no child had died as a result of malnourishment were unaware that the consequences of this malnourishment would be seen in the future.

Currently, a five-member family needs at least Rs 2,500 to have one meal owing to the increase of prices in food, the MCPA President said, recollecting that a few years earlier a Cabinet Minister had declared that
Rs 2,500 was adequate for a five-member family for one month.

Quoting a survey conducted by the MCPA in 25 districts, Dr. Sanjeewa said, a four-member family required at least Rs 1,500 per meal per day. Quoting data from a survey conducted by his outfit, he said a minimum of
Rs 4,000 was required by a five-member family for their meals per day. This is to provide them with a balanced meal. He said, it had resulted in people having to reduce their food intake.  

Research conducted by the Medical Research Institute (MRI) revealed that at least 27,000 children below five were fast becoming victims of acute malnutrition, while another 27,000 children in this age group were already malnourished. At least 500,000 children would suffer nutrition related issues in the near future, he said. 

“Unfortunately, our Ministers and officials who spend time in air-conditioned offices are unaware of the ground reality,” Dr. Sanjeewa lamented.

“Parents and climate change cannot be faulted for children being vulnerable to malnourishment. The short-sighted and rogue decisions taken by the rulers is the cause for the situation,” Dr. Sanjeewa said.

“Agricultural methods that were followed for the past several years were changed overnight in an adhoc manner. What we are speaking now is about the loan amounts Sri Lanka received,” he said, noting that Sri Lanka had become a country which was spurned by foreign nations because of the political mafia.

Explaining the effects of malnourishment on pregnant and breast-feeding mothers, he said they could suffer miscarriages, severe bleeding, and even death, while their infants could suffer from chronic diseases. It also affects the nervous system of infants born to malnourished mothers, which in turn would result in a future generation of children who are mentally challenged.       

By Dilanthi Jayamanne