By Linda Likomwa – Mana.
Communities in Chiradzulu have hailed a nutrition program being implemented in the district’s community based centres (CBCs) which aims at improving the nutrition status of under-five children.
Speaking in an interview over the weekend during a cooking demonstration at Chisomo CBCs in Traditional Authority Kadewere in the district, parents recognised improvement in the health of their children.
One of them, Yasinta Sakutanda said there was a difference between her children who were not fed the six food groups and the ones that have been taking them.
“I have six children and I raised four of them in the dark on the importance of feeding children six food groups each day and these children are not doing well in school.
“My first born is a standard six dropout at 19 years, while the second, third and fourth are all repeating standard 5 for the fourth time.
“I am afraid that they might dropout as well because their ages and class do not match,” said Sakutanda.
She, however, said her fifth born is in standard 3 and has never repeated a class, while the last one, 5 years old, is also doing well at nursery school because she started feeding them all the six food groups at six months old.
Speaking earlier, one of the CBC committee members, Agatha Matiyasi, said children at CBCs would be prepared a six-food-group meal during the session.
She added that they would also teach the same in their respective communities so that the same meals are also prepared in homes.
Chiradzulu District Early Childhood Development (ECD) Coordinator, Friday Kalaundi, said that was a comprehensive approach where pregnant and lactating mothers and children from 0 to 8 years are encouraged to eat all the six food groups so that babies are born and grow healthy.
He further advised parents to take nutrition issues seriously, saying though most households have all the needed food stuffs, they fail to prepare them accordingly and sometimes end up selling the food stuffs instead of consuming them at home.
The cooking demonstration was organized to equip CBCs committees on how they could prepare, store and utilise the six food groups for under-five children after harvesting their farm produce.
The activity was supported by World Bank which is implementing a five-year project on investing in early years in 15 districts of Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Zomba, Chikwawa, Neno, Mchinji, Likoma and Rumphi among others.