More and more Sri Lankans today tend to fall sick than ever before, and hospitals are overcrowded like marketplaces, turning the private health sector into a big business.
Many people fall sick not only because they take substandard drugs, but more so because they consume foods and beverages unfit for human consumption.
Recently, the media spotlighted one such case where the people were being duped or misled about a so-called high protein nutritional food supplement. Health experts questioned its much publicised nutritional value and its high price.
" Many people fall sick not only because they take substandard or counterfeit drugs, but more so because they consume foods and beverages unfit for human consumption"
Thousands of patients had allegedly been advised to take this processed dairy product even by doctors who were not sufficiently qualified in the science of nutrition.
This so-called wonder product is one of hundreds being marketed in Sri Lanka with little or no regulation or monitoring. For instance Food and Drugs Administration of the United States insists that manufacturers should give scientific proof of the claims they make regarding their products, but no such regulation is enforced in Sri Lanka.It is the duty of a people-friendly government to ensure that the people of Sri Lanka are not duped into buying items that are highly priced and could even be harmful.
It appears some government leaders and officials are more interested in personal gains, and are becoming multi-millionaires with impunity at the expense of the people.
We have often stressed and repeat it again today that Sri Lanka urgently needs a national policy on food and nutrition,whereby the people could get good, nutritious food from Sri Lanka itself.
This tropical paradise has so much to offer in terms of nutrition.
Instead of blatant and crude propaganda of the worst order, the state media should be used to give the people a full awareness of how they could obtain good Sri Lankan food at affordable prices.
Sri Lankan nutrition experts need to make people aware that food items like gram, green gram or cow-pea are the best items for breakfast while nutritious red rice, a variety of ‘mallum’ and green leafy vegetables are good for lunch. For dinner, a variety of local items including kurakkan products, ulundu and rulang need to be promoted.
Nutrition experts say a good balanced diet and a lifestyle including daily exercises will go a long way in preventing the growing number of cases of people and even children suffering from non-communicable deceases like diabetes, cholesterol, high pressure or obesity.
By reducing imported foods and encouraging people to eat good Sri Lankan food, we will also be able to save millions of dollars in foreign exchange.
Only such a course of action will help create a happy and healthy nation.