Adolescent Girls In Bhutan Learn About Health And Sanitation Through Weeklong District Cricket Championship
The national nutrition survey 2015 conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF Bhutan found anaemia in adolescent girls to be a critical problem.
By Nima | Kuensel
To create awareness on menstrual hygiene, adolescent’s nutrition and sanitation, about 70 under-16 girls from five dzongkhags came together for a weeklong district cricket championship at Pelkhil Oval in Thimphu.
The national nutrition survey 2015 conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF Bhutan found anaemia in adolescent girls to be a critical problem. Every three in 10 adolescent girls in Bhutan are anaemic, according to the study.
The teams from Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Sarpang and Wangdue took part in the weeklong championship organised by the BCCB and UNICEF. The district championship aims to make girls aware of such health issues.
The representative of UNICEF in Bhutan, Rudolf Schwenk said that the UNICEF believes sports and play as the fundamental rights of all children.
“Through such collaboration on sports, we can engage and empower adolescents and youth to grow into active and responsible citizens. And also to drive positive change in their communities,” he said.
Aims of the one-week long programme in Thimphu
The one-week long programme includes sessions that would help the girls reflect on adolescent health and nutrition, discuss issues related to menstrual hygiene management and protection from violence.
Knowledge, Attitude and Practices Study on Menstrual Hygiene Management conducted by the Ministry of Education and the UNICEF found a lack of menstrual hygiene management facilities in schools and nunneries.
This results in 43 percent of adolescent girls and 50 percent of nuns missing out on school lessons and other activities. In addition, one in every five schools lacks functional toilets and water for hand washing with soap.
Consequences of anaemia for adolescent girls and women during pregnancy
The Communication Officer with UNICEF Bhutan, Phuntsho Choden said that malnutrition and anaemia among adolescent girls and women during pregnancy have an inter-generational effect.
“Anaemic women giving birth to infants who are born with low iron stores and grow to become anaemic children. Anaemia in girls can have devastating consequences for girls’ physical growth, development and school performance,” she said.
The programme encourages team effort to enhance adolescent girls so that they will not miss school and have convenient access to menstrual hygiene and sanitation.
Dumber S Gurung from the Bhutan Cricket Council Board (BCCB) said that the programme uses sport as a medium to help them learn essential health and nutrition values.
“Through this event, we would like to educate them on the game of cricket and also on essential messages about menstrual hygiene, health, and nutrition among others,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Thimphu dzongkhag humbled Paro dzongkhag by 64 runs in the opening game on 18 July. Thimphu scored 124 runs in 10 overs while Paro scored 64 runs.
The championship played three matches on the opening day. Thimphu recorded two wins when it defeated Wangdue by 19 runs in the third game. Wangdue scored 90 runs and Thimphu scored 109 runs in 10 overs.
Scoring 89 runs in 10 overs, Sarpang defeated Punakha dzongkhag by 22 runs. However, the latter caught up and recorded 67 runs in the second game.