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Malnutrition in mothers trigger Jaundice, Hepatitis in newborns

[TamilNet, Saturday, 9 May 2009 20:23 No Comment]

Lack of basic nutrients in food available to lactating mothers is causing severe cases of jaundice and hepatitis-A in the new borns and months old babies inside the safe-zone where an estimated 120,000-165,000 Tamil civilians are struggling to stay alive, medical sources within the safe zone said Saturday. Mothers have flocked to the temporary hospital relocated to junior school, crying and pleading with the doctors for milk-powder, but hospital stocks are completely depleted, according to Vanni medical sources.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) soldiers in Trincomalee have allegedly removed 5 MT of nutritious food items, the locally manufactured Samaposha, from Defense Ministry approved 30 MT of food loaded into the Red Cross ship Thursday. The SLN soldiers unloaded the 5MT of Samposha after the foodstuff was loaded into the ICRC ship, according to Colombo-based aid workers.

The same sources said only 25MT of food items, contrary to widely publicized 30MT, reached the safe zone without the nutritious food stock. Embargo on nutritious food is being used as military weapon to break the will of the civilians still holding up with the Tigers, the aid-workers said.

Malnutrition among the elderly are particularly severe, medical sources in Vanni said. Deaths due to respiratory tract infections are also on the rise.

The high-level of fetal hemoglobin in the red blood cells, required in an unborn to get oxygen from their mother’s blood, need to be broken down when the babies are born. "Bilubrin" a by-product of this process is generally discarded from the baby’s body during the first few days, but if the mother’s feed is not nutritious and lacks colostrum (early stage of milk from the mother), the bilubrin accumulates in the newborn causing jaundice.

Medical sources in Vanni said, nutritious food to lactating mothers and milk powder for the newborns and young children are in critical shortage and will irreparably affect the young children.

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