Nutrition deficiency suspected in a Mongar community school

Nutrition deficiency has affected 18 students in Dagsa Community Primary School in Mongar.

The case was first inspected by Dagsa’s Basic Health Unit’s Health Assistant (HA) Suk Bahadur since it would take about five days for the people to reach the Dzongkhag,.

The HA said the students complained of muscle weakness especially pain in the calf muscles and pain in bones. Vitamin supplements such as vitamin B and C were given to the students.

Sukh Bahadur said more than that we don’t have much knowledge. The case was also informed to the Dzongkhag Medical Specialist in Mongar who asked the patients to be referred immediately.

The HA said it is not easy to take the patients to Mongar because of the distance. Therefore the students were taken to the Nganglam BHU under Pemagatshel Dzongkhag which is nearby.

For the School to reach Yangbari it takes 4 to 5 hours of walk but the sick students for not being able to walk, they were brought in tractors.

Later from Nganglam-Gyelposhing highway, the sick students were brought in two ambulances sent by the Nganglam BHU which is almost a two hour’s journey.

The BHU treated all 18 students suffering with similar symptoms of swollen legs which caused problem in their walking.

Suspecting it to be a case of nutrition deficiency three students who were under severe conditions were admitted for couple of days while others were provided with multivitamins after treatment and sent back.

One of the three patients admitted was dangerously sick with a history of sufferings with the similar disease. The student was however treated with medication during the five days.

However, those students were discharged on 20 October.

All the students are now back from the hospital and attending regular classes. The HA who goes for regular inspection said the children were much better.

However the children still complained of little pain in their legs while walking but felt much better than earlier.

“Looking at the case, I just suspect it to be nutrition deficiency. I suspect diet being provided by the school,” he added.

One of the school’s teachers Sonam Jamtsho said normally the School’s menu has fish and eggs three times a month but meat is not at all available here.

“Even transportation is one of the greatest challenge out here if we want to buy from outside,” he said.

Sonam Jamtsho said he is much concerned about the diet of the students.

He said he attended the WFP workshop on the diet where he learned that Soya and Nutrella consumption is also equivalent to meat.

“We provide Nutrella to students in every dinner,” he added.

The HA said during some his visits to the school, he found that not much of green vegetables were being served.

“The most common menu was potato and radish,” he said.

He said the problem here is there is no supplier as such for the school who can supply in bulk for the school on a contract basis.

“Other diets like calcium diet, meat, eggs are rare,” he added.

The HA agreed with the School authority’s submission of unavailability of meat in the area and transportation as the greatest challenge.

He said despite being in remote area where meat is supposed to be available, it is not the case.

The School has 119 students and 8 teaching staffs.

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