7 November 2012

Tanzania: Malnutrition Kills Children

Photo: UNICEF/Patricia Esteve
A recent survey shows that Tanzanian children suffer from malnutrition with approximately 69% of them being anemic.

ABOUT 130 infants die every day in Tanzania due to malnutrition related diseases, a nutrition barometer study released by Partnership Nutrition in Tanzania (TANIPA) reveals.

The barometer indicates that over 48,000 children die every year in Tanzania. Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam, the TANIPA Manager, Mr Joseph Mugyabuso, said the causes of malnutrition among the children were due to lack of a balanced diet that contains vitamins and iodine salts.

Mr Mugyabuso was speaking during a press conference and roundtable discussion on nutrition ahead of the African Food and Nutrition Security Day commemorated on every November 10. "The barometer indicates that the causes of the malnutrition are inadequate food security, poor economic performance, political leadership and cultural taboos," he said.

He named the regions with high level of malnutrition as Iringa and Mbeya calling for renewal of national commitments in tackling and addressing malnutrition to ensure that children survive and thrive. "We call upon the government to invest in proven, low cost solutions to save children's lives and prevent stunting," he appealed and asked private sectors to join hands and support the government.

Basing on the barometer report, Mr Mugyabuso said that the study provides a snapshot of government's political and financial commitments on nutrition in the 36 countries that are home to 90 per cent malnourished children. 21 of the countries are AU member states including Tanzania.

On the other hand, the Secretary of Tanzania Nurses Association, Kati District in Unguja Region Ms Ghanima Othuma called for community awareness on nutrition. "Most of the communities do not know what nutrition is all about...we need joint effort to create awareness among the public," she said.

Ms Othuma who was presenting a pilot study from Unguja said that most of the communities sell off their food crops instead of consuming for the betterment of their health. "Some of the communities have abundant food...the problem is they grow and sell them leaving nothing for their families," she said.

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