Khanh Son District:

School Milk Program improves child malnutrition

Sunday, 10/01/2021, 23:17 [GMT+7]

School Milk Program improves child malnutrition

The School Milk Program has been developed at all nursery schools in Khanh Son District since 2017 – 2018 school year, helping reduce the prevalence of child malnutrition significantly.
Vanh Khuyen Nursery School, Son Binh Commune has run the School Milk Program since the 2017 – 2018 academic year, offering milk to all pre-kindergarten kids from Monday to Friday, 1 carton /day and kindergarten kids, 3 cartons of milk/week. The milk is served free for kids from poor families, of policy beneficiaries and ethnic minorities; and 70% funding for others (parents pay 30%). 80% of the school kids are from ethnic minorities and many of them are from financially disadvantaged families.
Under the program for 3 years, the school has seen much improvement in child malnutrition with the malnutrition rate down by 15 - 20% at the end of a school year compared with the start of the year, according to Deputy Principal Le Thi Tuyet Hang.
Deputy Principal Tran Thi Ha of 1-6 Nursery School, To Hap Town, says the school child malnutrition rate of 10% before the program has dropped to 2 - 3%/out of overall 370 children.


Kids drink milk at 1-6 Nursery School. Photo: Hoang Quy.


To evaluate the effectiveness of the School Milk program, each school year, schools have made charts to track children’s growth, showing the rate of malnourished children at the end of each school year down by 10-15% on average compared to the beginning of the year. Especially, children’s height has significantly improved. Micronutrients from milk consumed regularly bring health benefits and contribute to increasing immune systems against diseases and helping kids become healthier and physically active. 
Ngo Thi Truc Linh, Chief of Nursery Education, Khanh Son District Division of Education & Training says, "In order to promote the effectiveness of the School Milk Program, the district education sector directs schools to build annual plans for the program; closely supervise milk delivery, storage and serving; and ensure absolute milk safety and hygiene. 100% of milk cartons are handled in a hygienic way.”
In the 2020 - 2021 academic year, the School Milk Program has continued in 9/9 nursery schools in Khanh Son, benefiting 2,190 kids, including 1,630 receiving 100% funding and 560 with 70%. There were 671 malnourished underweight kids (accounting for over 30.6%) and 673 stunted (30.7%) reported in late September 2020.
Pre-kindergarten kids are offered 5 cartons of milk/week and kindergarteners 3 cartons of milk/week. Khanh Son District Education and Training sector hopes the funding support for kindergarteners will increase to 5 cartons of milk/week to help further reduce the malnutrition rate among kindergarteners to under 15% (underweight) and 18% (stunted) by the end of the school year.
Dinh Luan
Translated by N.T