15 February 2018

Malawi: Malnutrition Remains a Challenge to Morbidity and Mortality Among Vulnerable Populations

Lilongwe — Malnutrition could have long term effects on the brain - Pic sourced from internet

Ministry of health says malnutrition still remains a major contributing factor to morbidity and mortality among vulnerable populations especially children, pregnant and lactating women, elderly and people living with HIV.

Chief of Health Services, Dr. Charles Mwansambo made the remarks on Wednesday during Nutrition Capacity Building; Recognition Ceremony for the first dietetic cohorts from Luanar at Ufulu Gardens in Lilongwe.

He said malnutrition has long-term adverse effects on intellectual and physical ability of an individual undermines academic, professional achievement, work productivity which contributes to poor human capacity development and economic growth in the country.

Mwansambo said there is growing recognition of diet-related, non-communicable diseases, creating a double burden of disease and malnutrition.

"Malawi like many developing countries is seeing increasing burden on cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions," Chief of Health Services pointed.

"For one to be trained as Dietician there is need for him or her to have a nutrition background. That is why Tufts University is integrating nutrition in the medical school curriculum," he explained.

Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Program Director, Dr. Patrick Webb said Tufts University in partnership with Malawi institution is engaged in three focal activities with overarching aim of building pre-service nutrition education and training capacity.

"Department of Nutrition and HIV and AIDS supported with USAID's country Development Cooperation Strategy, namely the lack of trained nutritionists and dietitians for the roll out of prevention and treatment activities around nutrition problems at scale," he said.

As one way of dealing with this emerging issue Malawi initiated training for Dieticians. The Registered Dietitian (RD) of Malawi is the new health professional who are clinically trained to tackle such complex nutrition problems especially the Nutrition related non communicable diseases.

These dieticians would need several tools in their daily work one of which is the Food Composition Table for Malawi. The development of the first Malawian Food Composition table will help the registered dietitians assess the nutrient intake of the Malawian population.

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