Health Minister: Six-Month Supply of Children’s Alimentary Supplements Provided
March 4, 2013
Health Minister Dr. Saad al-Nayef said on Monday that the Ministry provided an unprecedented amount of alimentary supplements for children valued at more than SYP 200 million which will meet the country’s needs for the next six months.
This came during the opening of the national symposium on preventive measures for improving the food conditions for children during current events, organized by the Health Ministry in cooperation with the World Food Program (WFP) and the UNICEF.
Al-Nayef said that these supplements include over 1.5 million doses of vitamin A, in addition to children’s food and therapeutic milk.
He stressed that the Ministry is making efforts to meet families’ food needs, particularly in the more needy areas, adding that since the crisis began, the Ministry exerted increasing efforts to improve the food conditions for children in cooperation with public and private establishments and international organizations.
The Minister underlined the need for a strategy to confront malnutrition, particularly for families in difficult conditions.
He noted that in the past ten years, Syria was among the leading countries in the Mediterranean in terms of health indicators improvement, adding that despite that, the food conditions for children is a concerning challenge for the Ministry, particularly in the eastern and northeastern regions of Syria.
In turn, Resident Representative of UNICEF in Syria Yousuf Abdeljalil affirmed that the UNICEF will continue supporting all issues related to children in Syria, including health and nutrition, pointing out that malnutrition is the indirect cause of half the deaths of children under five, and that women – particularly pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers – and children under two are the two groups most susceptible to the dangers of malnutrition.
Abdeljalil called for encouraging breastfeeding children due to its role in reducing infant malnutrition, in addition to promoting the use of the best alimentary supplements.
For her part, WFP representative Kate Newton said that children are usually the ones who are most affected by adversities and crises, noting that the first few years of a child’s life are the most important for guaranteeing their proper growth.
Newton said that the WFP has two main goals: training staff to work on improving food conditions and children, and providing specific food items to help citizens who suffer alimentary issues, particularly children and pregnant women.
Participants reviewed the alimentary programs carried out by the Health Ministry, in addition to discussing the causes of children’s malnutrition, the conditions in temporary housing centers, and the tasks of the nutrition program in cases of emergenies.