By Dr. Aung Soe @ Aung Kyaw Moe
Retired State Medical Superintendent
“There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being – to help someone succeed”.
Alan Loy Mc Ginnis
These words were uttered in last week-end in Yangon by Chanida Pachotikam, PhD, LD, MPH, CDT Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University President of Thai Dietetic Association during a seminar on nutrition and dietetics.
No doubt, the global nutritional development month, that is, the month of August is going to end. Such nutritional development activities as exclusive breastfeeding, prevention of goitre, cretinism, under development of brain, promotion of nutritional development of ante-natal, natal, lactating mothers, children under five etc were among the agenda during the nutritional development month. On the other day, the Global New Light of Myanmar described a news saying Hinthada District Hospital presented “best mother” awards as part of its nutritional development activities, regarding exclusive breastfeeding.
During our student days, we were taught food constitutes such components as carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, micro-nutrients and water. Healthy nutritious diet should contain all these components proportionately. To meet this end, dietitians play a key role.
“A dietitian is a person with a legally recognized qualification (in nutrition and dietetics), who applies the science of nutrition to the feeding and education of groups of people and individuals in both health and disease”.
Dietitians work in various fields, such as:
• Hospitals, and other health care facilities, educating patients about nutrition and administering medical nutrition therapy as part of the health care team.
• They may also manage the hospital foodservice operations in these settings, as well as in schools, day-care centers.
• Sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs, educating clients about the connection between food, fitness, and health.
• Food and nutrition-related businesses and industries, working in communications, consumer affairs, public relations, marketing, or product development, marketing, or product development.
• Private practice, working under contract with health care or food companies, or in their own business. RDs may provide services to foodservice or restaurant managers, food vendors, and distributors, or athletes, nursing home residents, or company employees.
• Community and public health settings teaching monitoring, and advising the public, and helping to improve their quality of life through healthy eating habits.
• Universities and medical center, teaching physicians, nurses, dietetics students, and others the sophisticated science of foods and nutrition.
• Research areas in food and pharmaceutical companies, universities, and hospitals, directing or conducting experiments to answer critical nutrition questions and find alternative foods or nutrition recommendations for the public.
Although there is scarcity of dietitians in Myanmar and hard to find any dietician appointed in primary, secondary or tertiary hospitals in the country, there is a good number of such diet experts around the world and in the region as well. Japan, for example with a population of over 128 million, has 58,500 dietitians, accounting for a ratio 456 dietitians per million population. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore with respective populations of 222.78 million, 25.35 million and 4.33 million has 3500, 320 and 92 dietitians, fulfilling 15.7, 12.6 and 21.3 dietitians per million citizens respectively, according to figures of Mahidol University Thailand.
It is a pleasure to know that STI Myanmar University in MICT Park is seeking candidates among medical field graduates to link teaching agenda for dietitians very soon.
Looking forward for nationwide health development in Myanmar.