In a stunning revelation, the Director General of the Health Communication Centre in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Gamaliel Binamungu said that 45 percent of Rwandan children are affected by poor nutrition habits.
The revelation comes barely a week after the launch of the nationwide mass campaign against malnutrition by the ministry.
According to Binamungu, the campaign that started last week will continue countrywide as the ministry continues to identify, treat and distribute nutritional foods to all malnourished children.
“Ready-to-use foods have reached various health centres in the country and by the beginning of next week; malnourished children will be able to access the products. Close follow up on these children will also continue to get their health back to normal.”
“Our children are our future so we must raise healthy generations for tomorrow,” Binamungu said.
According to the health expert, cases of Kwashiorkor and Marasmus were evident in many cases and severely malnourished children were sent to district hospitals for further treatment.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho recently said that malnutrition does not necessarily kill but accelerates the rate at which children may die of other diseases hence contributing about 50 percent to childhood deaths.
In this regard, Binamungu advised parents to ensure that their children are fed on balanced diet to avoid the threat.
Recommended foods include meat, eggs, fruits and all protein foods among others. He also stressed the importance of breast feeding as a vital means of fighting this deficiency.
Dr. Fidele Ngabo, the manager of the Expanded Programme of Immunisation in the ministry also added that at the initiation of this emergency nationwide programme, doctors country-wide were trained on how to screen and treat malnutrition.
According to Binamungu, one of the medical equipment used to detect malnourished children is the Middle-Upper-Arm-Circumference (MUAC) tape that determines whether or not a child is in the mild, acute or safe nutritional category.
Malnutrition is a disparity between the amount of food and other nutrients that the body needs in relation to the amount that it is receiving.
World Health Organisation rates hunger and malnutrition as the gravest threats to the world’s public health.