President Maithripala Sirisena Saturday launched a national nutrition program for pregnant mothers aimed at eradicating low-weight births in the country.
The President launched the island wide program "Uththama Pooja" organized under the theme "Eradicating low-weight births from Sri Lanka" from Polonnaruwa yesterday.
Addressing the event held at the Buddhi Mandapaya in Polonnaruwa, the President said his government would do everything possible to improve nutritional levels of children and mothers.
He said the duty of the government is to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers and has given priority to low income families.
President Sirisena, who was the Health Minister in the previous administration, noted that people who are working in the health sector have more responsibility to ensure the well-being of the women and children of low income families.
Pregnant mothers, who have completed four months of pregnancy and selected from all Divisional Secretariat areas of Polonnaruwa District have received sacks containing nutritional foods from the President at yesterday's event.
Under the program, nutritious food worth Rs. 2,000 per month will be provided to pregnant mothers during the last 6 months of pregnancy and for the first 4 months after the delivery of the child. They will be given coupons that can be redeemed at the outlets of Cooperative Wholesale Establishment or SATHOSA. The government is planning to provide vitamins to the mothers as well.
The Divisional Secretaries with the assistance of the doctors and family health officials serving in the maternity clinics will implement the programme under the supervision of the District Secretaries/Government Agents under the steering of the State Ministry of Children's Affairs. Family health officers will monitor the program.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, State Minister of Child Affairs Rosy Senanayake, Deputy Minister Wasantha Senanayake, North Central Province Minister Peshala Jayaratne and senior government officials also participated in the event.