MUSANZE - An official in charge of nutrition in the Ministry of Health, Alphonsine Nyirahabineza, has urged local authorities to lead a campaign against malnutrition in rural communities so as to reduce nutritional diseases and infant mortality rate.
She was addressing district health officials, mayors, and officials in charge of nutrition in hospitals, who were attending a nutritional workshop in Musanze District.
Nyirahabineza noted that malnutrition remains a public health problem in Rwanda, with 8.8% (65,210) of children aged between 6 and 9 months malnourished, while 1.6% (14,113) are severely malnourished.
Participants were drawn from the all districts of the Northern Province. According to the Rwandan Demographic and Health Survey (RDHS, 2005), Chronic malnutrition affected 45% of children between 0 and 5 years; most of them are in rural areas.
“Local authorities have to raise awareness among the population on prevention and management of nutrition deficiency and related diseases, set up a mechanism for monitoring and evaluation of the nutrition interventions in all areas,’’ Nyirahabineza said.
It was revealed that the national three-year strategy to eliminate malnutrition (2010 – 2013), will reduce malnutrition by 30% by effectively ensuring proper feeding among targeted vulnerable groups, especially children under the age of five years and pregnant and breast feeding mothers.
Colleti Kamanzi, the in-charge of nutrition at TRAC, said that feeding pattern of pregnant mothers has an effect on the new born child, and urged the authorities to ensure that nutrition related activities at community levels are implemented.
The Burera District Vice Mayor, Dorothy Nzayituriki, said cases of malnutrition were drastically on decline in her district due to the work of community health workers.
“We have enough foodstuffs in the rural community, the challenge still lies on how to ensure proper feeding,’’ Nzayituriki said.