Paediatric Nutrition Unit
A substantial proportion of hospitalized children are malnourished which influences patient’s mortality and morbidity negatively, increases the duration of hospital stay and ultimately increases the cost of health care management. Further, there are many children in the community, with nutritional problems which influences their health and overall productivity. Therefore, Medical nutrition unit was established in LRH since 2014, as a special unit to provide medical nutrition therapy to patients, with the view of uplifting the nutritional status in children in Sri Lanka. Medical Nutritional Therapy, as abbreviated by MNT, is an evidence-based medical approach to treating certain disease conditions through the use of an individually-tailored nutrition plan.
LRH is the pioneer children hospital in Sri Lanka, consists of many specialized units operating together to attain a common goal. MNU also a part of this pledge towards improving children’s health. The unit acts as a part of the collaboration network of the medical nutrition units located all over the country. The unit takes pride expanding its service to a wide array of about 4000 children per year, ranging from neonates to adolescents, from around the country.
Currently, this service is provided by medical doctors with post graduate qualifications in the field of nutrition, under the guidance of
Dr: Renuka Jayatissa
consultant medical nutritionist and the head of Nutrition, MRI.
Any medical doctor both in hospital and in community (preventive sector) can refer a needy patient to the unit. eg: from ICUs, wards, clinics, OPD, MOH, SMI. Children who are referred from school medical inspection, are necessary to make an appointment beforehand (even by making a call), for the convenience for both parties. Clinics will be held on all weekdays from 8 am to 4pm, Saturdays from 8 am to 12pm with the exception of public holidays.
- Provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), to critically ill patients in ICUs, surgical patients from pre-operatively to post-surgical nutritional stabilization, in-ward patients with nutritional problems with frequent follow up.
- Serving to patients with nutritional problems referred from other clinics and OPD.
- Serving to school children with nutritional problems such as obesity, underweight and stunting, detected in School Medical Inspections (SMI) and referred by School Medical Officers (SMOs) and Medical Officers of Health (MOH).
- Special clinic is conducted to plan ketogenic diet, for children with intractable epilepsy.
- Special clinic is conducted to serve the hospital staff, who need nutritional counselling.
- Provide therapeutic food (e.g.: BP 100 and Thriposha…), food supplements to patients with severe and moderate acute malnutrition. Prescribe micronutrient medications such as multivitamins and hematinic for indicated children.
- Maintain a database to gather information of children with nutritional problems who get the service from the unit, in collaboration with other medical nutritional units in the country.
- Conducting research activities relevant to nutritional problems in ill children.
My child is underweight. Can I get BP 100 for my child?
BP 100 is a therapeutic food, which should be prescribed as a drug, by a medical doctor. It is indicated only for patients with severe acute malnutrition, which should be diagnosed by the medical doctor. Therefore, not all the children with underweight receive BP 100.
Can my child continue BP100 for long time?
BP 100 is prescribed for 2 months maximum as decided by the nutrition doctor or your consultant. Therefore, discuss with your doctor for how long your child does may need to continue.
My child is not eating these days. Does he need multivitamin?
There may be several reasons for ‘not eating’ including many issues with feeding practices. It is always advisable to discuss this with your doctor and he or she will decide and prescribe only if it is necessary.
My child is obese. Should I bring him/her to nutrition clinic before he/she becomes an adolescent?
Definitely yes. Obese children should be followed up till adulthood as there are many health risks are associated with it.Frequency of the follow up will be decided by your child’s obesity grade, complications and the compliance to the lifestyle modifications.
I feel as my child is not grown as others in the same age, and I suspect that he is having a nutritional problem. Can I bring my child to clinic?
Your child may or may not be having a nutritional problem. Contact your family doctor or go to the nearest hospital OPD. The doctor will assess your child and if indicated, will refer to the nearest medical nutrition unit.