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Northern Province in renewed drive to fight malnutrition

Districts from Northern Province still experience cases of malnutrition among children but authorities and other stakeholders have intensified effort to address the problem.

Stunting and Anemia are most prominent preventable diseases which many of the children under five from Northern Province routinely suffer as demonstrated by 2015 Demographic Health Survey (DHS)

For instance Gakenke District recorded 46 per cent stunting rate whereas Burera recorded 45.9 per cent far above the national average of 38 per cent as opposed to 51% in 2005.

For anemia case Gakenke District recorded about 9,000 children while Burera District recorded over 17,000 children suffering from the disease.

“There isn’t any tangible reason for our province to have these figures of stunting and anemia among our children while our province is the well known food hub for the country.” Said the governor of Northern Province, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi while launching the campaign in Musanze District.

Gatabazi attributed the persistence of malnutrition issue to ‘the irresponsibility habit’ of many grassroots leaders as they are the one “to change people’s mindset on how to take care of their children since pregnancy period.”

He however stressed that the just launched campaign will reach every village in the province in partnership with development partners mainly faith based organizations mainly a coalition of civil society organization known as Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Alliance where the communities will be given knowledge on how to prepare balanced diet for especially infants.

“We are going to conduct intensive mobilizations on malnutrition eradication and we are starting with grassroots leaders and whoever involved in heath sector, particularly we will be teaching the residents the best way to take care of kids since the pregnancy period up to five years.” He said

“Our campaign will also focus on the youth so that once engaged in marriage they will be able to prevent their children from stunting and other malnutrition related diseases.” He added.

Venuste Muhamyankaka, the president (SUN) Alliance, said that people consider malnutrition consequences a serious threat stressing that stunting should never cured once attacked a kid.

“Stunting is a serious threat people should know this as it never get cured. It requires the government and civil society to join hands in sensitizing the residents on the preparation of balanced diet. We are calling on local leaders to take an advantage on this by including the eradication of stunting in their priorities as well as availing a specific budget for this particular issue.” He advised

Figure from Cost of Hunger Report reveals that Rwanda lost an estimated Rwf 503.6 billion in 2012 as a result of child under-nutrition.

The Express News

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