Kagera authorities moves to end malnutrition

KAGERA Region is implementing a programme to reduce the rate of malnutrition in children, with latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), indicating that the rate of stunting among children had gone down slightly.

According to NBS report, the rate of stunting in Kagera Region is currently at 34.3 per cent, down from 39.8 per cent recorded during 2018/2019.

Kagera Regional Health Officer, Mr Nelson Rumbeli told the ‘Daily News’ that the strategies taken to fight malnutrition include sensitising food producers and packers to ensure their products are fortified with vitamin A, iron and zinc.

“Under the ongoing programme primary and secondary school children are being involved in getting fortified meals and later educate the community on the importance of eating food rich in micronutrients, proteins and Vitamin A.

The latest NBS report indicated that Kagera Region is among the 12 regions with high incidences of stunted children aged below five years. The rate of stunted children in Kagera currently   stood at 34.3 per cent down from 39.8 per cent recorded during 2018/2019, while the national average rate stands at 34 per cent,” he said.

Other regions  with high incidences of stunting  with the percentage in brackets  include  Iringa (56.9 per cent), Njombe (50.6 per cent), Rukwa (49.8 per cent), Geita (38.6 per cent), Ruvuma (35.6 per cent),  Simiyu (33.2 per cent), Tabora (33.2  per  cent), Katavi  (33.1  per cent), Manyara  (32.0  per cent), Songwe (31.9 pere cent) and Mbeya (31.5  per cent).

Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Mr Toba Nguvila, on the other hand,   explained that while efforts have been taken to reduce the rate of stunting from 41.7 per cent recorded during 2015/16 to 39.8 per cent in 2018/19, and 34.3 per cent during 2021/2022, more is still needed to be done.

“It is high time that everyone in the region take the fight against malnutrition seriously  in order to make  Kagera Region free from the  problem… without taking necessary steps children will remain at high  risk, ‘he said.

He stressed the need for mothers to breastfeed their children as required, to reduce the rate of malnutrition.

Mr Nguvila  appealed to all stakeholders  to join hands in fighting against malnutrition  and hidden hunger, noting that more efforts should be made to educate  families, especially women on the importance of breastfeeding and eating food varieties rich in micronutrients, proteins and vitamin A.

“Kagera Region has enough food varieties, including bananas, beans and fish from Lake Victoria and 14 satellite lakes…food is not a problem. There is a poor understanding of nutrition in communities. So many young people suffer from stunted growth caused by a poor diet.

“More efforts are needed to educate the community on the importance of a lunch time meal for schoolchildren. Families should be educated on the best food varieties to eat on a daily basis, “he said.

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