Friday, December 07, 2012

Malnutrition cases on the rise - Masi

Malnutrition cases on the rise - Masi
By Fridah Nkonde
Fri 07 Dec. 2012, 11:59 CAT

NATIONAL Food Nutrition Commission director Dr Cassim Masi says cases of malnutrition in the country are on the rise. And Programme Against Malnutrition says children who are malnourished are unable to grow up well.

In an interview yesterday, Dr Masi said the commission's main concern was addressing the problem of under nutrition focusing on the children under the age of five.

He was commenting on a statement by Zambia Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition Alliance coordinator William Chilufya that malnutrition was still a major problem affecting 45 per cent of children under the age of five.
Chilufya said malnutrition was more than just a health problem and that the country needed to politicise nutrition development so that it gets the attention it deserve s in fighting malnutrition.

"Presently, nutrition in Zambia is treated as a health issue. While this is important, it overlooks the fact that some causes of under-nutrition or malnutrition are not health related. A number of interlocking factors lead to insufficient nutrition. The focus on nutrition as a health issue underplays the reality of multiple causal factors that reinforce under-nutrition," Chilufya said.

Dr Masi said present malnutrition figures were outdated.
"What people need to understand is that when we talk about malnutrition, we refer to over nutrition which is obesity and under nutrition. At the moment we are still saying that 45 per cent of children under the age of five are affected by malnutrition, but I am sure the figures have now changed because we are still referring to the 2007 health survey. We will have new figures by January 2013," he said.

Dr Masi said the commission had come up with a strategy to address malnutrition, adding that the commission was working hard to reduce chronic malnutrition in the country.

"We are part of government and our role is to coordinate these efforts in order to reduce malnutrition. We believe that malnutrition cannot be addressed by one sector. Sectors such as health, agriculture, local government, community development, and education have a part to play," he said.

He said the commission was doing a food consumption survey to find out what Zambians were eating.

He said that the food that most people were eating did not provide the necessary ingredients to allow the human body to function properly.

And PAM finance and administration manager Francis Kasamala called on Zambians to join in the fight against malnutrition in the country.

Kasamala said children who were malnourished had difficulties to adapt well in school.

He said it was evident that most children in Zambia today were badly affected by malnutrition. He advised mothers to try by all means to improve on the way they prepared their food. He praised the government for putting up mechanisms to fight malnutrition in the country.

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