19 November 2012

Tanzania: Malnutrition Costs Tanzania U.S. $512 Million

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

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania is estimated to lose Tsh815bn ($512m) in revenue yearly due to malnutrition which mainly decimates young children.

A recent survey shows that about 69% of the Tanzanian children are anemic, 42% are stunted, 35% are iron deficient, 33% are vitamin A deficient and 16% are underweight.

The survey further said over 600,000 children aged below the age of five years are estimated to have died as a result of inadequate nutrition.Due to this, the survey come out with a new economic setback which shows that vitamin and mineral deficiencies cost over Tsh815bn ($512m) per year, which is equivalent to 2.65% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC)'s Director of Community Health and Nutrition, Dr Sabas Kimboka told East African Business Week during the TFNC's media orientation seminar on Food Fortification that malnutrition contributes to 130 children deaths in Tanzania every day.

Kimboka said micronutrient malnutrition, or the deficiency of a specific micronutrient in a child, women, or man can cause many physical and mental impairments.

The Director of Coordination of Government Business in the Prime Minister's Office, Mr. Obed Assey said in recognition of those facts, the government is committed to ensure food security in the country and to upscale nutrition through various decisive measures.

As part of its decisive measures, Assey said in June 2011, the government signed up to the global Scaling Up Nutrition Movement.

He added to understand that good nutrition is vital for the nation economic development; Tz government had taken other necessary critical steps to curb malnutrition.

Assey stressed that some of these are establishment of a high level steering committee on nutrition comprised of senior government officials, development partners, private sector, civil societies, academia and faith based organizations.

"We have also created special budget line for nutrition and about 106 nutrition officers have been recruited at district level to support the scaling up of nutrition movement in the country," Assey said.

According to him the government has selected three staples which are the edible oil, wheat and maize flour to be fortified.

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