120 girl students downed by supplements go home

THE ROUGHLY 120 students of Lawigan National High School in Davao Oriental have been sent home after complaining of stomach cramps and fainting following the distribution of iron and folic acid supplements by the government.

In a statement, Department of Health Asec. Abdullah Dumama, Jr. said there are instances of abdominal pain and diarrhea being experienced by some females who take the supplements “although not everyone is going to experience it.”

The DOH maintained that the supplements were necessary, as these would address malnutrition in schools.

Most of the patients from the public school have been discharged from the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center (DOPMC) after being rushed to the hospital last July 11.

At the moment, the regional office is coordinating with the Provincial Health Office of Davao Oriental and the Mati City Health Office.

The micronutrient program promotes the giving of supplements to grade 7 to 10 girls in public high schools as well as adolescents enrolled in the Alternative Learning Systems.

The supplements aim to address the 2013 National Nutrition Survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute which revealed that one of 10 adolescents aged 13 to 19 suffer from anemia.

Students, especially female adolescents, are vulnerable to anemia because of their menstruation, rapid growth, increased iron requirement and high prevalence of parasitic infection resulting to loss of iron in blood.

As of Wednesday, 6 p.m., only 13 students who asked to be admitted at the hospital from a total of 123 students, remain at the health facility. They are in stable condition, while the rest of the students have been given home medications.

DepEd regional director Alberto Escobarte, in an interview, said that the agencies will not stop the program, as all high schools in the region are being given the said supplement. The supplements must be taken with a full stomach.

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