UNICEF goodwill ambassador lauds Bhutan’s initiatives
The UNICEF goodwill ambassador of South Asian region, popular Bollywood actor Aamir Khan lauded Bhutan’s progress in child and development. Aamir Khan visit Bhutan on …in his capacity as the UNICEF’s goodwill ambassador.
“We are what we eat and a country is not made up of buildings and structure but the people,” he said while on a two-day visit to Bhutan.
Aamir Khan made a visit to Paro Drugyel Hospital as he arrived to Bhutan to interact with the communities about the issues on pregnant and lactating mothers, mothers of young children and adolescent girls on infant and young feeding as well as mental health.
As South Asia remains the epicenter of the global child stunting crisis, he made an awareness of the importance of childhood nutrition and to advocate fighting malnutrition in Bhutan and across the South Asia. He also talked about sanitation and personal health and hygiene.
The UNICIEF report 2015 shows that the improvement of sanitation coverage has increased and child malnutrition in Bhutan has declined from 33.5 percent in 2010 to 21.2 percent in 2015, and anemia in young children reduced from 80.6 percent in 2003 to 43.8 percent in 2015. It is also recorded that 66.3 percent of people now have access to improved sanitation facilities.
The recently published National Nutrition Survey found that about 25 percent of the anemia rate for children is classified as mildly anemia and 18 percent moderately anemia. It is also reported that anemia in Bhutan is extremely low at 0.4 percent in children less than five years. The survey also found that 16 percent of pregnant women were noted consuming alcohol and almost 50 percent of women was exclusively breastfeeding their children according to health guidelines.
Aamir Khan said Bhutan’s progress is dramatic. He also highlighted the importance of healthy diet and child. As soon as a child is conceived and until he or she attains the age of two, it is called “1,000 golden days” because any damage done within this period is difficult to reverse later. Focused on 1,000 golden days, the goodwill ambassador said children should be put to the breast immediately after birth and should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months. Solid food should be introduced only after that.
He shared that in some parts of India, there is a misconception and children are not breastfed colostrums. He said that for the first 24 to 48 hours of the child’s birth, breastfeeding is important, safest, and healthiest and it protects the child from diseases.
He conveyed that child should not force to learn quickly as they have different phase of speed in learning. He said, “Create atmosphere for child, so they can discover and explore” special child doesn’t mean to have special school. He added.
Aamir Khan also talked about child sexual abuse to students and teachers of Yangchenphu Higher Secondary, Thimphu. He said society needs to be sensitized Minister of health, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk said that the health ministry is focusing on three elements, namely mother’s nutri- tion, young child feeding practice and water sanitation and health hygiene. He added that for the betterment of child and mother, maternity leave for mother is extended from three months to six months for civil servants.
Aamir Khan said that the initiatives taken by the government and putting in place divisions, organizations and commissions for the child protection are amazing.
Besides his official messages about nutrition and child development, he shared about his life as a movie star and challenges. He said that ordinary man challenging against the unusual fate in cities encouraged him to move into his present carrier. “Don’t chase success, do what you love to do. Then success will chase will you,” he said. “Faith is important but blind faith sometimes leads to wrong direction.”