Bugesera District has recorded a significant drop in child malnutrition, falling from 49 percent in 2007 to 3.5 percent in 2010, The New Times has learnt.
According to the district Health Director, Dr Francis Karambizi, the achievement is mainly due to the availability of 100 resident women volunteers, who have been sensitizing fellow residents, especially in Juru and Ririma sectors on the importance of nutritional health.
Karambizi said during an interview, Tuesday, that in 2006, only 4% of the women in the district used family planning methods, but the number has multiplied more than tenfold.
“This shows that unlike before, more families plan to have a small number of children who they can take care of,” he observed.
Josee Mukakimenyi, 41, a volunteer leader and mother of five, commended the efforts of World Vision, an international NGO that recruited the volunteers and facilitates them with transportation and necessary tools during their work.
She said that over the last one month, the volunteers visited 120 homesteads and trained mothers in health and nutrition, as well as kitchen gardening.
“The problem in Bugesera was ignorance, because we found out that actually many families had the capacity to provide a balanced diet to their children. But because they didn’t know which foods matter, their children would became malnourished,” Mukakimenyi said.
She added that the volunteers formed a cooperative which owns a farm and a kitchen garden which is used to provide food to poor families with malnourished children.
Collins Kamanzi, the World Vision Area Development Programs Coordinator, said that the organization also sponsors the education of 3,060 students from Bugesera in primary and secondary education.
“Our major goal is to improve the standards of living in our community, particularly the children’s wellbeing. To achieve this, we intervene in education programmes, health and nutrition and also carry out HIV counseling and testing,” Kamanzi said.