TAHA, SIDA in spirited drive to tame malnutrition

MANYARA: IN the midst of Tanzania’s protracted struggle with poor nutrition and associated health issues, a glimmer of hope has emerged through the fervent efforts of the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA).

TAHA is striving to whet the appetite of fruit and vegetable consumption, complementing government initiatives to combat malnutrition.

“What you eat and don’t eat can reduce your risk of medical conditions such as heart disease and cancer and increase life expectancy,’’ emphasised TAHA’s Chief Development Manager, Mr Anthony Chamanga during a Nutrition Day event that attracted nearly 300 people at Laghangesh village in Yaeda Ampa Ward, Mbulu District, Manyara region yesterday.

The nutrition sensitisation spirited campaign is a brainchild of TAHA, thanks to financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Mr Chamanga said that malnutrition has necessitated the establishment of a dedicated nutrition unit within TAHA, crucial for executing comprehensive plans and interventions aimed at mitigating malnutrition-related challenges such as stunting, micronutrient deficiencies and non-communicable diseases.

Over the course of 2023, TAHA’s nutrition unit has achieved outstanding milestones. Through effective utilisation of media, social networks and various publications, over five million individuals have received nutrition education.

Also Read: Three out of ten children under five years are stunted-data

Additionally, in-depth theory and practical nutrition education sessions have reached more than 11,000 urban and rural beneficiaries.

National agricultural exhibitions such as Nane-Nane and Sabasaba, along with TAHA’s own events, have further extended this outreach to an additional 150,500 beneficiaries.

The nutrition campaign also impacts the younger generation, with 75,481 pupils across various schools participating in nutrition activities and the creation of vegetable gardens.

TAHA’s commitment can also be seen in its research and dissemination of 35 different nutrition articles promoting balanced diets inclusive of horticultural products.

This proactive stance is substantiated by alarming statistics from the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (2022), revealing that approximately 30 per cent of children were stunted, 12 per cent underweight, three per cent thin, and four per cent were overweight.

In Manyara region, 31.7 per cent of women aged 15-49 were overweight, 7.3 per cent underweight, 1.7 per cent were emaciated, and 28.8 per cent were anaemic.

It was against the unpleasant figures that prompted TAHA, in collaboration with regional and district nutrition offices, to identify malnutrition hotspots in Mbulu District.

The objective is to strategise and implement targeted nutritional interventions that could alleviate these pressing health challenges.

Through dedicated campaigns and partnerships, TAHA is indeed casting a hopeful light on a healthier future for Tanzania.

Gracing the TAHA’s Nutrition Day, the Manyara Regional commissioner, Ms Queen Sendiga said that malnutrition has serious health and economic consequences for individuals, families, communities and the nation as a whole.

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