Most of pregnant women throw away vitamins given free of charge

BY Dilanthi Jayamanne

Most of pregnant women who obtain folic and iron tablets provided by the government free of charge throw them away, a recent survey has revealed.

Addressing the media at a seminar conducted at the Health Education Bureau (HEB) Nutrition Specialist, Consultant Community Physician, Medical Research Institute (MRI), Dr. Renuka Jayatissa said the survey conducted last year had revealed that only 27 per cent of those pregnant women who took the tablets consumed them as prescribed. The remaining mothers either were unaware of the importance of the pills or were careless about it.

Dr. Jayatissa speaking on the ‘importance of nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life,’ said a pregnant woman needed to take 90 folic tablets during pregnancy. She said the supplement helped prevent deformities in the child’s skull, brain, spine and the nerve system. While iron tablets prevented malnourishment and anaemia, and other possible complications in pregnant women.

Although Dr Jayatissa was unable to reveal the government’s expenditure in procuring the folic and iron tablets there were approximately 300,000 pregnant and lactating mothers who required the nutrition supplements, she said.

The nutrition specialist said it was important for the mother to adopt healthy food habits during pregnancy as the development of the foetus depended on it.

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