Survey after survey, research after research has shown the high prevalence of Under Nutrition among plantation children for many decades. DHS reports, World Bank Surveys, Journal of Asian Studies are some of the publications which, highlighted the situation comparing the national, urban, rural and estate sector levels, which has been seen since 1996. Sustainable Goals developed and agreed by the member countries of UN distinguish the value of “ending all forms of malnutrition”, challenging the world to think and act differently on malnutrition to end it by 2030.
Ministry of Health, NGO, INGO have spent millions and millions annually on plantation community on improving the knowledge on food substances rich in Protein, Carbohydrates vitamins and minerals, the importance of these substances. Which has resulted with enhanced knowledge among the community as given in Multi Sectoral Nutrition Assessment in Sri Lanka’s Estate Sector conducted by World Bank.
Persistent high level of child undernutrition in estate sector is not related to the maternal knowledge on food sources according to the MSNA.
Perusing all these information, as an organization directly responsible for the health and well being of plantation community with an emphasis on child health &development, decided to implement a special nutrition supplementation program with an objective to eliminate child undernutrition from plantation sector with the assistance of Hill Country New Villages, Infra Structure and Community Development.
Project Zero Malnutrition Among Plantation Children identified all children above 24 months to 60 months as the beneficiary group. the strategy identified is to actively feed all children of this age category a with protein rich Tikiri Shakthi.
Tikiri Shakthi protein rich bar was designed with Medical Research Institute and Industrial Technology Institute of Sri Lanka with nutritive value of 10-15g of Protein, 200-300K.cal and 20 % of Vitamin and Mineral per day requirement of a child of this age.
Initially, 50g of Tikiri Shakthi contained 4g of sugar where later it was completely removed to make it Zero added Sugar to keep up with the Health Ministry policy of ” No Sugar for Children”.
The progress of the project and improvement of child health will be monitored closely as it is implemented through the Child Development Officers, necessary guidelines and monitoring tools developed and training sessions were conducted to all stakeholders in all seven PHDT regions.
Since the implementation of the project, we have observed Plantation managers ranging from CEOs to Estate level has extended their maximum cooperation monitoring the implementation in the estates under their per-view. Children consume happily as conveyed by CDOs & parents. Some mothers express the effectiveness of the intervention as highly effective even during the short period of time they have observed weight gain and change in meal practices of their children.
In future project will be evaluated scientifically to see the actual effectiveness.