11 December 2012

Tanzania: Chronic Malnutrition Now Threatens Lives of Children Under Five

TANZANIA is among ten countries worst affected by chronic malnutrition, with about 42 per cent of children aged less than five years with stunted growth.

A report released by Partnership for Nutrition in Tanzania (PANITA) in Lindi town over the weekend, showed that 5 per cent of children under the age of five are too thin for their height (wasted) and 16 per cent too light for their age (underweight).

PANITA further reports that approximately 40 per cent of women of child-bearing age are anemic and more than 50 per cent of pregnant women are suffering the same complications. Responding to the report, Lindi Acting Regional Commissioner, Mr Nassoro Hamidi, said the government had a number of interventions to eradicate malnutrition which have started bearing fruits.

"The government has done a lot to eradicate malnutrition, including preparations and implementation of national nutrition strategy (2010- 2015) which identifies the involvement of all stakeholders in nutritional issues," he said. He further noted that citizens must ensure that they eat balanced diet because that helps to cure several diseases in human body.

"Citizens should make sure they are having balanced diet as it helps them to avoid some diseases and cure others," he said. Speaking at the event, the Chairman of Parliamentary Nutrition Group, Ms Lediana Mng'ong'o said though people have several problems including failure to have nutritious food, efforts to improve their health should always be emphasized.

"Nutrition starts when a mother is pregnant, we understand that when the child received tender care from the time he or she was born, she/he will become healthy and fit to produce the best for the country."

The Country Director of Save the Children (NGO), Ms Rachel Pounds, said that her organization will continue fighting nutrition. "We are fighting malnutrition and we shall keep on investing in awareness programmes, understanding of the prevalence, consequences and actions for addressing nutritional issues," she said.

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