Bukoba — Statistics on child malnutrition for children under five years in Kagera region have continued to decline from 41 per cent to 39 percent in 2019 due to increased public awareness towards the upbringing of children under five including exclusive breastfeeding for six months.
This was stated by the Coordinator of Health Awareness and Education for Kagera Region, Mr Nelson Rumbeli during a "Mother Meet up" event held on Tuesday in Kemondo, Bukoba.
The event, organized by the Tanzania government in collaboration with USAID 'Tulonge Afya health' project through the 'Naweza' platform, involved the participation of mothers with children under 6 months.
He said for the past five years the prevalence rate of child malnutrition in children under five years was 41per cent but by 2019 it had dropped to 39 per cent.
The decline in this rate is due to recent efforts made by government in improving the health sector. The government has also continued to work with development partners including USAID to promote better health maternal education for children from birth up to five years of age.
Rumbeli said the Minister of State for President's Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PMO-RALG) Selemani Jafo launched and signed agreements with regional commissioners, and various levels of leadership up to the village level with the aim of addressing nutrition challenges because it is a major issue, which has been a major challenge in several parts of the country.
He added that the number of maternal deaths during childbirth last year was 80 in the Kagera region has dropped by 45 per cent.
This he says is attributed to an increase of improved health facilities, construction of new hospitals and adequate availability of drugs in those hospitals.
Benson Rweyemamu, is project coordinator for the USAID Tulonge Afya Health project at the district level which is being implemented by Tadepa, he says the aim of the "Mother Meet up events" is to provide opportunities for mothers with children under 6 months to discuss and share experiences on the upbringing of childrenfrom birth to 5 years of age
The key issues discussed in this activity are exclusive breastfeeding for a period of 6 months from birth, follow-up treatment by health professionals when they feel the baby is having problems, sleeping under a treated mosquito net and the use of modern reproductive health methods.
'Mother Meet up events' according to Rweyemamu is held every six months and the target audience is mothers with children under six months.
"Today the guests are from seven wards of Bukoba council which are Maruku, Kemondo, Kanyangereko, Katerero, Karabagaine, Nyakato and Katoro," he said
The project manager for USAID Tulonge Afya Health in the lake region, Sihiana Mkanda, said USAID Tulonge Afya is a five-year project in 12 regions in Tanzania.
The project is being implemented in Mwanza, Geita, Kagera, Mara, Shinyanga and Kigoma regions
He said in the lake region the project is implemented in 12 districts and in Kagera Region it is in Muleba and Bukoba rural districts and that they chose those districts due to the health challenges faced by the community members of those districts.