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FAO plans ambitious nutrition campaign in Isles

FAO plans ambitious nutrition campaign in Isles

FOOD and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) plans an ambitious campaign on nutrition to fight malnutrition in the country.

The United Nations’ agency will collaborate with other partners in the campaign, which is scheduled for launching soon, according to Assistant FAO Representative—Programme Charles Tulahi.

He described physical and cognitive stunting as a serious problem in the food secure Tanzania, with a whopping 30 per cent of under-five children affected.

“We have no worries about food security in Tanzania; there is no need for alarm, the serious problem is malnutrition,” Mr Tulahi said on the sidelines of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded regional training of trainers’ workshop on the new FAO good emergency management practice (GEMP) tool.

World Health Organisation (WHO) describes a stunted child as one who is too short for his or her age due to chronic or recurrent malnutrition. Stunting is said to be a contributing risk factor to child mortality and a source of inequalities in human development because stunted children fail to reach their physical and cognitive potentials.

Mr Tulahi underscored the need for capable human resource—physically and intellectually—to attain the country’s development goals. “We need to invest in the production of competent human resource but the 30 per cent rate of stunted children in the country is worrisome,” he said.

Elaborating on the workshop, the FAO programme head said it aims at providing the basic principles of emergency preparedness and planning share the participants’ respective experiences and provide them with practical knowledge based on GEMP principles.

Zanzibar’s Department of Veterinary Services Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Talib Saleh Suleiman said by virtue of it being an island, Zanzibar is risky to contagious animal diseases, which must be avoided at all costs.

“We, Zanzibaris, are obliged to ensure that animal diseases which are not in the country remain at bay; we have as well to strictly control the existing ailments,” said Dr Talib, citing rabies as among the most dangerous animal diseases in the islands.

He however explained that the department has rabies management programme under which all cats and dogs are vaccinated, annually. “Rabies is a very dangerous disease because it infects human beings as well,” he said.

Swine Fever and Rift Valley Fever are the animal diseases, which are not yet in Zanzibar, said the chief vet, adding that under the one health approach, medical doctors and veterinarians work jointly to address the sporadic disease challenge.

The four-day training session has attracted trainees from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, with each country dominating five participants.

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Author: MASATO MASATO in Zanzibar

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