MTWARA Regional Commissioner Colonel Ahmed Abbas has directed nutritionists to intensify efforts in fighting malnutrition through different approaches.
He urged them to continue monitoring and making evaluation on effectiveness of information on nutritional interventions, so that appropriate measures are taken.
The RC issued the directives during a meeting which involved district officials and nutrition stakeholders to evaluate contract for the implementation of nutrition interventions for the financial year 2021/ 2022.
He said proper interventions will play a vital role in ending malnutrition in Mtwara region, a move that will also help to eradicate poverty in the southern region.
“We need collaborative efforts with scientific approaches on ending malnutrition in the region, this is crucial in poverty eradication,” he said.
He added that during the first 1,000 days, the brain grows more quickly than at any other time in a person’s life and a child needs the right nutrients at the right time to feed her brain’s rapid development.
According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Health through Tanzania Food Nutrition Center (TFNC) in 2018-19, the level of malnutrition in children under five years old at the regional level has decreased by some indicators.
Statistics show that stunting has decreased from 38 to 29.6 percent.
Anemia has decreased from 67 to 58.6 percent, underweight from 15.2 percent to 12 percent and exclusive breastfeeding has increased from 11 to 51.2 percent.
Moreover, the number of households using iodised salt has increased from 27 to 37.6 percent. Anemia affects 58 percent of under-five children in the region.
RC Abbas noted further that anemia has decreased from 47 percent to 30 percent for women of reproductive age between 15 and 49 years old.
“Overweight has increased from 29 percent to 39.5 percent, causing women to be at risk of getting chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer,” he said.