RC stresses consumption of nutritious food

KATAVI: KATAVI Regional Commissioner (RC) Ms Mwanamvua Mrindoko has encouraged parents and guardians to contribute nutritious food items for pupils and students attending primary and secondary schools to enable them to perform well in classes and improve attendance.

She equally urged local government authorities in the region to make sure that food suppliers provide fortified food in secondary schools to help students with dietary needs.

“Meals in schools are paramount important as a hungry student cannot properly follow what is being taught…so I call upon parents to contribute food to improve academic performance and school attendance.

Urgent action is needed to control micro-nutrient deficiency, including fortifying school meals” emphasized the RC

Ms Mrindoko further insisted that residents in the region should not misquote the government’s intention clearly stipulated in the Education Circular No 6/2015 which prohibits compulsory contributions by parents.

“The intention of the government is good and clear that food contributions should be made through relevant school committees.

Also, pupils who fail to contribute for food due to various reasons, including poverty, should not be denied from getting porridge during school hours” she stressed.

Addressing stakeholders in Mpanda municipality recently, Ms Mrindoko said the rate of stunting among children aged below five years was still high in the region which stands at 33.1 per cent.

“Concerted efforts are still needed to ensure that hundreds of stunted children in the region are saved from malnutrition as the rate of stunting among children aged below five years is still high at 33.1 per cent” she explained.

She further explained that urgent action was needed to control micro-nutrient deficiency including fortifying school meals.

“Councils and all stakeholders in the region should join hands to find a lasting solution,” she stressed.

Ms Mrindoko explained that Katavi region has conducive weather for the production of both cash and food crops.

“The region has enough food varieties including rice, maize, beans and fishery resources from Lake Tanganyika and numerous satellite lakes….

Food availability is not a problem at all. What is needed is to educate families on the best food varieties to eat on daily basis” emphasized the RC.

According to nutrition experts, maize flour can be fortified with several micro nutrients, iodised iron, folic acid, vitamin B complex vi, Vitamin A and Zinc.

The RC also directed local government authorities, including nutritionists, to intensify efforts in fighting malnutrition through different approaches.

Ms Mrindoko also urged them to continue monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of information on nutritional interventions so that appropriate measures are taken.

According to the RC, proper interventions will play a vital role in ending malnutrition in Katavi region, a move that will also eradicate poverty in the southern highlands region.

” We need collaborative efforts with scientific approaches on ending malnutrition in the region, this is crucial in poverty eradication ” emphasized the RC.

The rate of continued breastfeeding at two years stood at 44.4 per cent while the national average was 43.3 per cent.

The rate of exclusive breastfeeding stood at 85 per cent and meal frequency per day stood at 55 per cent.

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