Nutrition of pregnant women in the country is posing a big challenge, according to the Health Ministry.

The Maternal and Child Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Unit of the Family Health Bureau has pointed out that less than 20% of expectant mothers were anemic and therefore lacking in the expected levels of hemoglobin while a further significant number of pregnant women were underweight (the body mass index being less than 18%).

National Programme Manager – Maternal and Child Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance, Consultant Community Physician Dr. Kapila Jayaratne cautioned that the myths pertaining to food restrictions ingrained in the public consciousness was one of the main reasons for this.

“The current socio-economic conditions and development levels also play a role in this regard”, he said.

“What can be provided at present is only general nutrition. This is a reflection of people’s attitudes. The people’s attitudes must change and must be changed”.