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Health expert highlights child retardation risk

An epidemiological fact finding survey carried out in tsunami affected coastal districts has indicated a potential risk increase in retardation in newly born and unborn babies.

Prof. Dr. Aurangzeb Hafi, an expert from Pakistan, has highlighted the child retardation risk in Sri Lanka after his 15-day fact finding survey done in the coastal districts of the South and the Ampara district.

Prof. Hafi was the first Pakistani scientist to have been declared "The Man of the Year in Interdisciplinary sciences" by the International Scientific Council.

He had carried out the survey under the aegis of the MAVSO International of the United Nations University. It was sponsored by Peak Freans EBM Ltd. of Pakistan.

Prof. Hafi in an exclusive interview with the Daily News said that this was because contaminated water was being consumed by pregnant women and children. The risk exists for children under three years as well, he said.

He also noted the need for speedy action by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to bring the situation under control with immune enhancing nutritional supplements.

Prof. Hafi said that he would provide the report of his epidemiological survey to the United Nations University by Thursday (21).

He said he was ready to cooperate with the Government of Sri Lanka and non-governmental organisations to help the victims.

"MAVSO international has agreed to provide immune enhancing nutritional supplement to Sri Lanka and Maldives worth Rs. 2 million," he said.

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