Tuesday, 15 January 2013

MALNUTRITION: Panama: Malnutrition thrives under 10.5% growth rate

PANAMA'S economic growth of 10.5%, the highest in Latin America, is not reflected in indigenous areas, where malnutrition figures are on a level with El Salvador and Nicaragua, where GDP  is far lower. 
Ministry of Health (MoH) statistics show that in 2010 and 2011, the rate remained at at 2.8%, because in both years the prevalence of this phenomenon was 2.8%, according to the statistical yearbook, known now.
The figures reveal that in 2010, 9,692. cases of malnourished children under five were treated and in 2011, 9,497 and the problem is still present in rural indigenous areas like the Kuna Yalaregion.
The picture is more disheartening to review the Survey of Living Standards 2008, according to which the prevalence of malnutrition in preschool was 19.1% taking into account size and age.
Reports from the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture, highlight that malnutrition levels in Panama are similar to El Salvador and Nicaragua, where GDP is two and six times higher, respectively.
Cases of malnutrition treated at MoH faciliries in 2011 did not register a significant drop compared to 2010. During both years the prevalence og malnutrition has remained at 2.8%, according to the Ministry’s Statistical Yearbook .
The newly released document shows that in 2011 the 9,497 cases of children under five needing medical came from a total population of. 340,725.
In 2010 the 9,692 malnutrition cases in the same age group came from a population of 348 021.
However last year saw a large increase in malnourished children in some areas In Guna Yala, there were 2,270 cases , and in 2010, 1,477
In Panama 956 cases were treated, when in 2010 were 457.
The picture in the health region of Bocas del Toro is no different. 698 cases were reported in 2011 up from 271. In the Veraguas health region there were 550 cases were reported against 390 in 2010.
The latest Survey of Living Standards (ENV) 2008, which takes place every five years indicates that prevalence of malnutrition in preschool children is 19.1%, while in 2003 it was 20.6%.
Program Coordinator for MoH nutritional care, Eira Vergara explained that to prevent child malnutrition in the first two years of life, we must ensure good nutrition, including breastfeeding for the first six months.
He added that a complementary feeding help the child to develop their brain properly in the first two years of life.
According to the specialist, if a child has malnutrition in early life that may bring complications, such as health problems, because it does not develop all the cells of the body and produces deficiencies in the school years.
Vergara said that in communities in the counties is where there are the most cases of malnutrition. The ENV reflected malnutrition prevalence of 55.9%.
Panama as a country must meet 2015 Millennium Goal to "eradicate extreme poverty and hunger", both issues of malnutrition.
Up to November this year, 166 children have been treated at the seven hostels providing a Nourishing Home nationwide, to present malnutrition, according to the National Secretariat for Children, Youth and Family (SENNIAF).
Aymara Pinzon SENNIAF psychologist, said that children who are malnourished are found through medical tours to Nourishing Homes poorer areas or the region, and through hospitals that treat minors. After treatment in the homes the children are released to their parents.

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