Govt scales up na­tional nu­tri­tion cam­paign

Lesotho Times - - News - Mot­samai Mokotjo

LE­SOTHO is set to hold a na­tional nu­tri­tion fo­rum next Thurs­day to share in­for­ma­tion and chart the way for­ward in im­prov­ing the coun­try’s cur­rent sta­tus.

This was re­vealed in a joint press brief­ing by the min­istries of Agri­cul­ture and Food Se­cu­rity, Health as well as Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing in Maseru yes­ter­day. The high level fo­rum would be at­tended by se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and other stake­hold­ers. Th­ese in­clude, among oth­ers, par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, prin­ci­pal sec­re­taries, dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tors, dis­trict coun­cil sec­re­tar­iat, the pri­vate sec­tor, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and de­vel­op­ment part­ners.

Ac­cord­ing to Agri­cul­ture and Food Se­cu­rity Deputy Min­is­ter ‘Mamosa Mo­lapo, the fo­rum, which would be held at Avani Maseru Ho­tel, is meant to brain­storm ways to raise aware­ness about the im­por­tance of nu­tri­tion.

“We want to come up with strate­gies to in­crease pub­lic aware­ness on the ne­ces­sity of good nu­tri­tion,” she said.

“We want the pub­lic to be equipped with all the right facts to make in­formed nu­tri­tional de­ci­sions. Good nu­tri­tion helps in curb­ing stunt­ing in chil­dren and peo­ple liv­ing with HIV/AIDS also need to eat whole­some food to re­main healthy.”

Ms Mo­lapo said King Letsie III, who was nom­i­nated as the first African Union nu­tri­tion cham­pion in July 2013, would also at­tend the fo­rum. The deputy min­is­ter said they also in­tended to hold a peace march ahead of the fo­rum on Wed­nes­day, al­though they are yet to get a per­mit from the po­lice who would then de­mar­cate the route they would use.

Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Deputy Min­is­ter, Tha­bang Kholumo, chipped in say­ing there was need to in­crease the food availed to school­child­ren to avert the chal­lenges of un­der-nu­tri­tion.

Said Mr Kholumo: “We have a long his­tory of the School Feed­ing Pro­gramme. How­ever, since the prob­lem of mal­nu­tri­tion is per­sist­ing, we in­tend to give chil­dren two in­stead of the one meal they get at schools next year.

“We are also go­ing to pro­vide weight-mea­sur­ing de­vices for ev­ery early child­hood de­vel­op­ment and ed­u­ca­tional school in or­der to mea­sure weight and height in re­la­tion to the chil­dren’s ages.”

On her part, Health Deputy Min­is­ter Lite­boho Kompi em­pha­sised the need for peo­ple to eat nu­tri­ent-rich foods to stave off un­nec­es­sary health com­pli­ca­tions.

“We in­tend to en­act a pol­icy and with re­gards to nu­tri­tion. It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity as gov­ern­ment to see to it that the peo­ple are eat­ing healthily,” she said, adding that they would also con­duct coun­try­wide cam­paigns to sen­si­tise com­mu­ni­ties about the value of nu­tri­tion.

Agri­cul­ture and Food Se­cu­rity Deputy Min­is­ter ‘Mamosa Mo­lapo

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