The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education has established a database to assist the Ministry to monitor the nutritional status of school children in Sri Lanka.
Support is being provided through a grant from the Government of Spain, administered by the Sustainable Development Goals Fund for the project entitled “Scaling up nutrition through a multi-sector approach”
The basic information of each child such as weight and height against the age, weight for height, body mass index, birth date, as well as the results of the annual School Medical Inspection are collated and fed in to the database for analysis and feedback to the school principals.
The database will allow easy identification of children with chronic, acute or severe malnutrition and children who are underweight, overweight or obese. Nina Brandstrup, FAO representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, remarked that the database will allow children whose nutritional status appears to be deteriorating to be directed to the medical officer of health for timely attention and the provision of targeted care. She also noted that the database will facilitate contacts with the parents for evidence-based advice and guidance on corrective measures.
In addition, the database can be used to analyse the effectiveness of any school nutrition programme or other nutrition programmes that include schoolchildren carried out in the country. In particular, the Ministry of Education which has been implementing school-feeding programmes for many years will now have the tool to adequately monitor the adequacy and nutritional quality of the meals they provided and the impact.