World Vision Nutrition Coordinator Ignatius Kaunda in Lundazi Town, Eastern province, has expressed concern on the growing number of fatal malnutrition cases among under-fives in the area.
Mr. Kaunda said his organization was concerned that due to food insecurity in the area, many parents and guardians were unable to feed their families especially under-fives, adequately.
He said as a result, the Town recorded four deaths of malnutrition cases in under five-year-old children out of the 515 severe acute and moderate malnutrition cases in the last quarter of 2020.
ZANIS reports that Mr Kaunda has advised parents and guardians in the area to improve on their household food insecurity and feeding practices for malnutrition cases to reduce in the district.
“To reduce these cases parents must learn good feeding practices because undernutrition puts children at great risks of dying from common diseases such as diarrhea,” he said.
He noted that through growth monitoring, signs of malnutrition could be detected early in children, thereby providing therapeutic interventions that help reduce the number of severe cases of malnutrition in the district.
“Malnourished children with severe acute malnutrition have a high risk of death, this is why World Vision in partnership with the Ministry of Health is implementing a child growth program,” he said.
According to Lundazi District Scaling up Malnutrition (SUN) Chairperson Mukule Banda poor nutrition among children due to lack of knowledge of eating a balanced diet remains the major cause of acute malnutrition in under-five children in the district.
Mr Banda stated that most families remain food insecure because they decide to sell all their high-value crops.
“Most households are food insecure because they have the tendency of selling all their high-value crops such as groundnuts and soya beans that can add nutritional value to their food,” he said.
He also cited the practice of parents introducing children to solid foods too early as another contributor to malnutrition in Lundazi.
“Another contributing factor for malnourished under-five children is that mothers introduce their babies to complementary solid foods before two months,” he said.
He has since urged parents to ensure they leave enough high-value food for consumption and be able to buy diverse food to reduce high malnutrition at house hold level.
Mr Banda observed that the challenge of malnutrition in the district requires coordinated and concerted efforts from stakeholders.
“As a district we have District Nutrition Coordinating Committee (DNCC) with key line ministries that deals with nutrition all this is to approach the problem of malnutrition in a multi-sectoral manner,” he said.