Friday, February 17, 2017

The issue of stunting in Bhutan.

Both Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk and Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji reiterates that today Bhutan has a stunting status as 28% in the West to 40% in the East. Under advice of Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, I Googled and found the same information. I just wonder who provided that statistic.

If under K5, this is the status, then in 1972 when K4 came on the Throne, stunting must be 56% in the West and 80% in the East. Afterall Bhutan has developed leaps and bounds since then. And yet throughout the last 40 years I have not come across such number of stunted adults. Does stunting effect wear off as one gets older? Or is there a different definition of stunting.

Could I, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk and Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji be categorised as adults who suffered stunted growth during our childhoods? We are physically healthy but not tall. If so, only then the present statistic of 28% and 40% are believable.  On the average Bhutanese youths even today are not tall  like those in the West. . Otherwise someone played a game of manipulation for some purposes.

I recall an incident ( in 1980s) in a meeting where I expressed my disbelief with Bhutan population figure of 1.2 million. Dasho Dorji Tenzin was very annoyed with me.  How could I contradict his figure when he was the Director General of Immigration and Census, he demanded. Few years later the population figure came down from 1.3 million to around 500,000.

At that time,  I just could not imagine how we got such a population when the whole nation including the capital city was so scarcely populated. and  And today I am in disbelief with the stunting statistic figures because I have not seen such proportion in the villages and schools I came across. Please understand this is not to say children do not need nutritious meals. And we do need more world height basket ball players.

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