By: Grace Kapatuka – Mana.
Salima District Senior Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Officer, Lucius Njobvu has asked stakeholders working in the district to put deliberate measures that would help communities to keep enough food in in order to reduce malnutrition in the district.
Njobvu’s sentiments comes amid worries of increased malnutrition cases that are being registered in the district.
Speaking during a District Nutrition Coordinating Committee meeting on Tuesday whose aim was to share Covid-19 guidelines with stakeholders, he said it was worrisome to note that malnutrition cases continue to increase despite numerous efforts by government and other stakeholders to fight the same.
“From the report that we have had from the NRU department, it was evident that instead of decreasing, the malnutrition cases continue to rise, which a worrisome development was considering the efforts we are putting in,” Njobvu said.
He said partners and other stakeholders working in area of nutrition need to put deliberate measures that would help sensitize communities of the importance of keeping enough food for their families so that malnutrition levels could be reduced.
“This is the time that communities are harvesting different crops including soya beans. May I ask stakeholders working in different communities to take the initiative and sensitize people not to sell all their produce so that they have enough food to take them to the next harvest so that we combat malnutrition,” the Officer said.
From January to March,2020, the Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit (NRU) of Salima district hospital recorded 13 deaths due to malnutrition.
Salima District Hospital Nutritionist, Kingsley Chizeze said despite the challenges that the sector is facing, they are working tirelessly to ensure that malnutrition levels are decreased in the district.
“We have mothers that shun under five clinics because their child is underweight or malnourished. This is worrisome because when they attend such clinics, which is where issues of nutrition and child care are shared with them. We also have parents who run away from NRU’s when they have been admitted with malnourished children. This is a set back to our fight against malnutrition,” he said.
Chizeze said apart from sensitizing communities on nutrition issues and provision of other nutritional services to the people, the unit make follow ups on parents that run away from the centre so as to serve the affected children.
Areas where malnutrition levels are high in the district include Pemba, Kambwiri, Maganga Khombedza and Kalonga.