SHILLONG: NEIGRIHMS Dietary Unit celebrated a day-long programme “Tot up Nutrition for Infants and Toddler” here on Thursday. Director of NEIGRIHMS, Prof (Dr) DM Thappa was the chief guest on the occasion. Deputy Director David T Umdor, Medical Superintendent, Prof (Dr) Noor Topno, faculty of paediatrics and hospital administration also joined the dietary unit NEIGRIHMS to celebrate the event.
The programme was organized to provide awareness to the general public, specifically mothers of infants and toddlers, about the importance of complementary feeding to cope with the rapid growth spurt from 6 months to 3 years. A variety of complementary feeds for infants and wide range of local snacks for toddlers like ‘Pu riewhadem, ‘Puthiang shira, ‘Puthiang dai, etc., were displayed outside the Gynae/ Obs OPD for mothers visiting the hospital.
The director in his speech appreciated the work done by the dietary unit in the last few years and explained to the audience as how such an initiative can improve malnutrition problems of infants like marasmus and kwashiorkor. He highlighted the importance of zinc in our food, as a deficiency of this micro nutrient can be a causative factor of various deficiency diseases of infants.
During the programme, the Deputy Director Umdor, spoke on the importance of nutrition of the first thousand days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday. Medical Superintendent, Topno gave a brief note on the progress of the Dietary Unit since its inception. He said that the dietary unit is coming up with a manual, which shall be very informative to the patients. The resource person of this programme, Dr Himesh Barman, associate professor, Paediatric Department, NEIGRIHMS, in his speech mentioned about the principle of infant nutrition and how things are changing over time. He highlighted the fact that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is compulsory and introduction of complementary feeding after 6 months of age of an infant must be followed.
He focussed on the need of food diversification which includes the introduction of a variety of food groups in the daily diet of the child. Another point that he highlighted is food hygiene because infection is associated with malnutrition. Hand washing, segregation of cooked and uncooked food items, proper cooking of food, and maintenance of safe food temperature while storing food items were the other points mentioned.