The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) yesterday launched a nationwide mass campaign to fight malnutrition among children under five.
The beginning of the campaign was announced yesterday by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho during a press conference that was held at MINALOC offices in Kacyiru.
“It is a one week campaign that entails sensitization of the population about the dangers of malnutrition. During this door-to-door operation, health workers will identify and treat malnourished children while those in dire condition will be sent to district hospitals for further treatment,” she said.
The campaign which started on Monday is based on the national nutrition policy that aims at contributing towards the country’s target of achieving the fourth Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality rates.
“Fighting this threat was also an appeal of President Paul Kagame and together, we are strongly determined to eradicate it. Malnutrition does not necessarily kill, it accelerates the rate at which children may die of other diseases hence contributing about 50 percent of childhood deaths,” Binagwaho added.
As part of the campaign, officials at village level (Umudugudu), cells, sectors, districts and provinces have been assigned different responsibilities.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, essential facilities including nutritional foods will also be provided through health services systems during the campaign.
Binagwaho also explained that malnutrition is mainly caused by poor feeding, poverty which does not enable most people to afford the necessary foods, and ignorance.
This campaign is implemented alongside other strategies like the fight against malaria and other diseases caused by poor hygiene. Malnutrition is a general term for a medical condition caused by an improper or inadequate diet and nutrition.
According to the World Health Organization, hunger and malnutrition are the single gravest threats to the world’s public health and malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases.