Medi-snippets: Health Ministry calls for healthy school canteens | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Health Ministry calls for healthy school canteens

20 October, 2019

With the sharp rise in Non Communicable Diseases with young children identified as being diabetic or pre diabetic, the Health Ministry is appealing to all principals, heads of schools and zonal directors of education to ensure the maintenance of healthy canteens for schoolchildren. Health officials told the Sunday Observer that a circular, No 35/2015, had been sent to all directors of schools in this regard and they are expected to follow the guidelines therein. They said studies have revealed that the nutritional status of schoolchildren across the island was unsatisfactory with urban children more at risk of obesity due to over eating. “ The present school population of over 4 million spend more time in school than at home. It is the duty of the school authorities to create a healthy food environment for them”, the officials told the newspaper.

They said the objective of school canteens was to provide wholesome nutritious food while inculcating good eating habits from a young age. They said school canteens and school heads were encouraged to raise awareness on the early development of NCDs such as, diabetes, cardiac problems, hypertension and cancer, through posters and visuals showing the adverse effects of consuming too much sugary food and fatty salty food. Guidelines by the Nutrition Unit of the Health Ministry has reportedly prepared lists and rules in connection with healthy food as well guidelines on foods for their main meals including desserts and snacks, with the help of world health authorities, sources said. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has been quoted as saying that a regulatory system and a colour code will be introduced for all school canteens to indicate their status.

Public ignorant of interventions for Cerebral Palsy patients in SL

Of the 17 million people affected by Cerebral Palsy ( CP) worldwide, 40,000 persons are to be found in Sri Lanka. Sadly, although there are tools and resources globally, very little is known of the rehabilitation and intervention services provided for them in our own country, Head of Rehabilitation Services , MJF Charitable Foundation, Dr Gopi Kitnasamy told the Sunday Observer.

He said the Foundation aimed at filling this gap across the country through a national campaign of awareness and knowledge sharing. “We hope to work with the government sector, private sector and NGO partners to spread the message to each of the 25 districts and ensure that families with children with CP are followed up in terms of resources, therapy and referral networks. Both, the Dilmah MJF Charitable Foundation, and National Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy and Other Development Disorders ( NCCCPODD) which Dr Kitnasamy heads, have been training midwives, MOH staff, therapists and families dealing with children and adults with CP to mitigate the effects of CP. “We also provide free therapy and programs daily to over 450 children and youth affected by CP, Down Syndrome, autism and other development disorders”, he told the newspaper.

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Women above 20 years must do monthly self examinations for breast cancer

The team at the National Cancer Control Program (NCCP ) have found a disturbing trend in breast cancer over the past 2 ½ decades. According to them only 35- 37 percent of breast cancers among Lankan women are detected during their most treatable stages i.e. stage 1 and 2. They reportedly told the media that despite new technology and facilities to enable early detection and initiate treatment, around 20 percent of cases are detected in the second and third stage which is too late. The Matron, NCCP clinic Ms Malini Basnayaka told the Sunday Observer that breast cancer was the most common and easiest to detect early of all cancers in women, while thyroid cancer and cervical cancer occupy the 2nd and 3rd places. She said, “It can easily be cured if detected early at the first stage,” adding that the NCCP was currently carrying out several awareness programs via posters and leaflets printed in Sinhala, Tamil and English.

She said: “In addition, we also screen normal patients who attend our clinic daily, for cancer. Any woman with suspicious symptoms is immediately sent for further assessment to the Maharagama Cancer Hospital and the Colombo General Hospital.

“We have a well trained and experienced team at NCCP , including nurses, public health nursing sisters, doctors and myself, a special grade nursing officer.”

Asked if there is any special message to be given to the public, she said “ It is crucial that all women above 20 years of age do monthly self breast examination.

If any change is noted, they should immediately consult the nearest public health midwife, public health nursing sister, medical officer of health or any other doctor.”