Mawphlang MLA Mathew Beyondstar Kurbah has underlined the need for a balanced diet and ways to address malnutrition.
He was speaking as chief guest at the outreach programme for Nutrition Month at St Paul’s Higher Secondary School, Marbisu today. The programme was organised by the Central Bureau of Communication (CBC), Regional Office, Shillong.
The outreach programme is aimed at creating awareness on Poshan Abhiyan with September being celebrated as National Nutrition Month across the country. A three-day Photo Exhibition and Outreach Activity on Freedom Fighters of North East was also organised as part of the programme.
“Our ancestors had a profound knowledge of nutrition. But presently our food habits and other factors have led to lack of nutrition among the youth. Malnutrition is a serious matter. The government is taking action in this direction but we too have the responsibility. We need to create awareness to avoid malnutrition. Balanced food is essential,” Kurbah said.
Kurbah said that Nutrition Month aims to comprehensively improve nutrition outcomes among adolescent girls and boys, pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under six years of age.
He also stated that to run this month-long campaign and to transform it into a people’s movement, the staff of the Women and Child Development Department, Anganwadi workers, helpers, supervisors, CDPOs, Asha workers, ANMs, cooperative societies, self-help groups, youth clubs, and others should work hand in hand.
Kurbah also emphasised that special attention should be given to spreading awareness about anemia and proper hygiene. The campaign aims to educate people about exercise, environmental improvement and the importance of a healthy and nutritious diet, he added.
The Mawphlang MLA also inaugurated the free medical camp set up by the Mawphlang Community Health Centre.
Child Development Project Officer of Mawphlang Block Baiakmen S. Hek while highlighting Poshan Abhiyan said that in order to gain good health people have to start right from conception.
“Under Poshan Abhiyaan programme implemented by the ICDS we teach mothers and fathers on the importance of the 1000 days of life. If proper care and intervention is taken during this period it will bring benefits throughout life,” she said.
Speaking about nutrition, Hek said consuming nutritious food and a balanced diet is one that fulfills a person’s nutritional needs.
“One should remember to consume at least five food groups in a day which includes carbohydrate, proteins, pulses, dairy products, vegetables, green leafy vegetables,” she added.
Hek exhorted all the students to maintain a balanced diet and to ensure that their diet or their plate is colorful and the best example which they can relate to is the Indian tri-colour flag signifying the saffron for curry, white for rice and green for vegetables or the green leafy vegetables.
Speaking about the various services provided by Anganwadi workers for pregnant mothers and children, she urged students to spread these messages to their mothers, sisters and pregnant mothers to utilize these services for promoting good health.
District Health Education Officer, O Sumer in her speech gave a detailed description about the value based traditional food for physical growth, brain development and combating anaemia.
Stressing on the enhancement of macro and micro nutrients and the qualitative food intake, she also stressed on the relativity of food to various lifestyle diseases and the method of eating right.
Sumer concluded by motivating students to take the weekly folic acid tablet once a week and Albendazole tablet twice a year in order to eradicate anaemia.
Apart from the medical camps, stalls were also put up by the State Rural Livelihood Society, CDPO Office Mawphlang Agriculture & Horticulture Development Office, Mawphlang.
Self help groups brought their local products for sale during the programme which received encouraging response from the crowd.
The other attractions of the event, folk and modern dance presentation by students of St Paul’s School, regaled the audience and guests with variety and zest. Several competitions are lined up for the remaining two days of the exhibition.