LAHAD DATU, 10 March 2019 – Housewife Siti Hanyah Johardi enters the health clinic in Tungku here carrying her three-year-old daughter Nor Ani Sazira. One can easily notice the healthy and jovial little girl, but a couple of months ago her condition was the complete opposite – she was very thin and suffering from malnutrition.
In last August, Nor Ani, the youngest of Siti Hanyah’s five children, was identified among the 76 children in Lahad Datu, as suffering from malnutrition. She was immediately placed under Food Basket programme, a collaboration between the State Health Department and PETRONAS, which was initiated in mid-2017.
Nor Ani joined the rest of about 700 children who have benefited from the programme where PETRONAS provides funds for the supply and delivery of monthly food packages to 130 government clinics in 13 districts in the state.
The children, identified by the Department, receive a monthly food package comprising essential food including rice, breakfast cereal, milk as well as multivitamins and other supplements, until their nutritional condition improves to a satisfactory level as set by the Ministry of Health.
Siti Hanyah says she is willing to make the long trip to the clinic, getting up early in the morning once a month to walk to a paved road with her daughter in her arms.
She then will hitch a ride to the health clinic about 13km away to collect the food package so that she can give her daughter a chance to grow well and healthy.
“I just hope she can be healthy. I cannot bear to see her so thin and sickly,” she said.
Now going into the sixth month of collecting the monthly package under the programme, Siti Hanyah smiles every time she looks at her daughter. “She was 8.0kg before. She then slowly increased to 8.5kg, 9.0kg and eventually to 11.0kg,” she said, beaming.
“I am so grateful for this assistance and hope that she will be stable by next month,” Siti Hanyah said referring to her daughter.
A round trip to the clinic would cost Siti Hanyah about RM6. A small amount to most people but not to her. As Siti Hanyah’s husband who works in a factory is the sole breadwinner, there’s not much money left to spend every month after the usual, essential expenses. But Siti Hanyah will save whatever little she can so that she will have enough money to take her daughter to the clinic every month.
Besides Lahad Datu, other districts benefitting from the programme are Pitas, Kota Marudu, Kinabatangan, Tongod, Sipitang, Kudat, Kuala Penyu, Kota Belud, Beaufort, Tuaran, Penampang, and Ranau. For the remaining districts in the state, the Department will handle the supply and delivery on its own.
The Food Basket programme is part of PETRONAS’ sustai`nable Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) effort that aims to contribute to the well-being of society. Yayasan PETRONAS, the CSR arm of PETRONAS, is working closely with the State Health Department to implement the programme.
Apart from Food Basket, other programmes in Sabah include Planting Tomorrow – a nurturing livelihood programme in Kota Marudu and Pitas – and two education infrastructure projects, namely the Asrama Harian Luar Bandar in Pulau Balambangan and MARA Junior Science College (MRSM) in Ranau.
Sabah and Labuan Regional Office
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