AUTHORITIES in Kagera Region are finalising arrangements to have Mothers’ Breastfeeding Day as a strategy to reduce malnutrition in children aged below five years.
Kagera Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Marco Mbata, disclosed this during a regional consultative committee meeting held in Bukoba Municipal Council.
“The region has reduced child malnutrition from 41 per cent in 2017/18 to 39.8 per cent. However, more efforts are still needed to ensure we reduce it further to below 20 per cent,” he noted.
He said plans were underway to mark Mothers’ Breastfeeding Day to educate women on the importance of frequent breastfeeding and giving right nutrients to their children.
Meanwhile, Dr Mbata has said Bukoba Regional Referral Hospital has now a kidney screening machine.
“We thank the government for this medical equipment. Some patients had to travel long distances to Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam or Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Moshi for screening services, but now they can be screened here,” he said.
For his part, Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Brig Gen Marco Gaguti, said the region had enough food reserves.
“There is no reason at all to have undernourished children. Malnutrition is detrimental to children’s lives. Globally, 161 million chronically undernourished children are not getting the right nutrients and care at the right time.”
Data shows that lack of affordable, quality healthcare continues trapping many people in poverty.
Globally, as many as 100 million people a year are pushed into poverty due to high healthcare costs and about 30 per cent of households in Africa and Asia have to borrow money or sell assets to pay for health.
It is little wonder that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is at the centre of global policy debate today.
However, much remains to be done to realise the dream of UHC in Africa.
Countries across the continent are still struggling to reduce maternal and child mortality, malaria and malnutrition while addressing the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs, such as diabetes and cancer).
In addition, although Africa accounts for 24 per cent of the global burden of disease, it has only 3 per cent of the global health workforce and 11 million Africans are pushed into poverty and remain poor every year due to healthcare costs.