Chin State Has Highest Rate of Child Malnutrition in Burma

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Chin State has the highest rates of malnutrition for children under age five out of all of Burma’s 14 states and regions, the Ministry of Health and Sports reported.

The ministry undertook a survey of malnutrition among children in the country aged six to 59 months from 2017-2018 and published the results in February.

According to the survey, 40.3 percent of children in Chin State are suffering from malnutrition or stunted growth—the highest percentage in Burma.

Director of the department of public health in Chin State, Dr. Tin Maung Swe, told Khonumthung that poverty is to blame.

“We lack an awareness campaign about how to eat systematically and properly. Even though some people know how to eat systematically and properly, they are so poor that they not afford to buy healthy food,” he said. “People must eat nutritious food from the time they are children. If mothers do not eat nutritious food, the mother cannot produce nutritious milk for her children.”

Dr. Tin Maung Swe added that greater spacing between births could also improve nutrition among children and pregnant women, and that his department, in cooperation with the ministry of social welfare, was providing pregnant women with monthly assistance.

“We are providing 30,000 kyat (under US$20) per month to every pregnant woman. Midwives also talk with pregnant women about healthcare,” he said.

Ayeyarwady Region has the second highest rate of child malnutrition in Burma, at 37.9 percent. Rakhine State came in third at 34.7 percent. The Ministry of Health and Sports has a budget of 368 million kyat (US$242,166) in Chin State for the 2018-2019 financial year.

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