MARA: AT least 1,090 under-five children with malnutrition have been treated in the past one year, out of whom 608 had their health completely improved.
About 20 (out of 1,090) were taken from hospital to traditional healers, with parents believing that the minors are bewitched, Mara Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Zabrone Masatu, told the `Daily News’ recently.
However, he affirmed, Community Health Workers (CHWs) were looking out for children to bring them back to hospitals while also identifying more malnutrition cases in the society.
“Wrong beliefs are somehow hindering the efforts. We keep on educating traditional healers not to handle such minors,” he said.
Dr Masatu expressed the gratitude to ‘USAID Afya Yangu-RMNCAH’ project that provides technical support, in terms of capacity building to staff, on how best to solve nutrition complications.
Malnutrition is among diseases dealt with the USAID Afya Yangu-RMNCAH, which is implemented by the Tanzanian government in collaboration with various stakeholders in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.
The 66.8-million-US-dollar project is being funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The RMO assured the community of endless efforts to fight malnutrition, given the fact that the region has got a variety of nutritious foods.
The service providers and CHWs are also subjected to encourage expectant mothers to attend clinic sessions and giving birth at hospitals, for close supervision to both, mothers and newborns.
Bunda Town Council Nutrition Officer, Ms Lucy Mwalwayo, affirmed that the search is in progress to bring the children back to hospitals from traditional healers.
Similarly, services providers and CHWs do regularly meet the healers for public education, on especially malnutrition symptoms and the negatives.
“Traditional healers are now on our side as they immediately communicate us after receiving children with such symptoms.
However, some children do come back to hospitals in severe condition, of which the recovery is not guaranteed,” she said.
Mothers in maternity wards and clinic sessions are also trained on how to prepare nutritional meals for the children in homes.
A traditional healer in Manyamanyama area of Bunda, Mr Malegesi Masije, admitted to have been unknowingly causing the minors’ death due to wrong doses he gives.
“We give only traditional medicines for oral and bathing uses. However, the children whose parents violate our traditions, such as killing a python do experience same malnutrition symptoms, a reason why we accommodate the victims,” he said.