Edema among students in Luentshe

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Eight students of Luentshe Higher Secondary School had to be admitted to the hospital after they were found to be suffering from edema, a condition of swollen lower limbs resulted due to nutritional deficiencies.

When health officials visited the school on May 28, 46 students including 10 girls were found to have edema in the hostel housing 278 students as boarders. The students were not aware of the condition as nutritional deficiency disease although the ones suffering study in higher grades. One of the students, a grade 12 science student, who went for the medical checkup, said he could not find himself as ill, because it was painless.

The district medical officer, Dr. Sonam Jamtsho assured the students not to panic since the condition is likely to be caused by nutritional deficiency and it will improve over the time. The limbs are swollen because of the accumulation of fluid below the skin. He said, ‘The students are administered vitamin B and C so the condition is improving.’

Similar incidences of swollen limbs have been found among the students of Orong HSS and Martshala middle secondary school in Samdrupjongkhar district. In Marstshala some 24 students were found with edema last month.

School students in Bhutan have been clearly lacking essential nutrients in their diet, particularly those living in remote areas and depending on the hostel menu. In many rural parts, students as young as seven years walk more than one hour with their heavy backpacks to and fro from the school. And, poverty contributes to their low nutrition.