Milk programme reduces malnutrition
-study in three Berbice nursery schools
Stabroek News
November 19, 2003

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There was a 75% reduction in rates of malnutrition in nursery school children at three schools in Region Five (Mahaica/West Berbice) after they were fed with a daily supply of milk for 11 months last year.

The feeding programme, undertaken through the Guyana Dairy Development Project (GDDP), saw students at three nursery schools including those of Calcutta and Airy Hall benefiting from daily supplies, courtesy of the Dantzig milk plant which opened in the region early last year.

GDDP Nutrition Consul-tant, Yvette DeFreitas, outlining the findings of the agen-cy's research at Monday's launching of the St Stanislaus College Association Farm Dairy Products Unit, said indicators also showed that there was improved vitality and attention and a reduction in serious illnesses in the target group during the study period.

According to DeFreitas, the students adapted very well and tolerated the milk diet, with only three showing initial signs of adverse effects which were overcome following repeated use.

The study also showed a 48% improvement in the group of those students who were considered to be in the lower category of well-nourished persons, the nutritionist noted.

DeFreitas nevertheless observed that no significant changes were recognised in those children whose growth seemed to be stunted and suggested that this could well be linked to genetic factors.

She also recognised that there were no significant improvements during the August vacation when the children received no milk leading them to conclude that the supplement was indeed the primary protein source.

Increased use of milk is being pushed especially with the opening up of mini-pasteurisation units in various parts of the country.