First Lady tack­les mal­nu­tri­tion

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tendai Ru­papa in MATABELELAND NORTH

FIRST Lady Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa yes­ter­day launched a sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing pro­gramme at Ntabazin­duna Clinic in Matabeleland North where she do­nated sev­eral tonnes of corn-soya blend por­ridge to al­le­vi­ate mal­nu­tri­tion among chil­dren.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports by the Min­istry of Health and Child Care, Matabeleland North has one of the high­est lev­els of mal­nu­tri­tion in the coun­try, es­pe­cially among the un­der-fives.

The First Lady, who is the Am­bas­sador of Ma­ter­nal and Child Health, has been vis­it­ing com­mu­ni­ties across Zim­babwe pro­mot­ing healthy liv­ing among cit­i­zens.

She said the corn­soya blend por­ridge was highly nu­tri­tious and that the feed­ing pro­gramme would be in­tro­duced in all the coun­try’s provinces.

“I am hon­oured to be part of this event of han­dover of sup­ple­men­tary food for the vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in this province be­cause Mat North is one of the provinces hard hit with high lev­els of mal­nu­tri­tion in the coun­try, es­pe­cially among chil­dren be­low the age of five,” said the First Lady.

“In re­sponse to this, I, as the First Lady, has em­barked on a high nu­tri­ent por­ridge pro­gramme which I am launch­ing here in this province which will be repli­cated in all the provinces where mal­nu­tri­tion is high.

“The corn­soya blend por­ridge I have brought is highly nu­tri­tious and it will en­hance nu­tri­tional lev­els amongst chil­dren in need of this por­ridge. I am en­cour­ag­ing you to have this por­ridge pre­pared at clin­ics and have chil­dren fed there.

“Poor feed­ing prac­tices are one of the con­trib­u­tors of mal­nu­tri­tion in chil­dren, caus­ing them sick­ness and in ex­treme cases, death. There­fore, in this province we have an up­hill task of feed­ing our chil­dren other foods in ad­di­tion to breast milk.”

The First Lady said com­mu­ni­ties should be in­volved in the fight against mal­nu­tri­tion among chil­dren so that ev­ery­one ap­pre­ci­ates the im­por­tance of elim­i­nat­ing the con­di­tion.

“All fam­ily mem­bers need to be in­volved in en­sur­ing that our chil­dren get nu­tri­tious foods for their op­ti­mum growth and de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

“To­gether we can achieve suc­cess and en­sure ad­e­quate nu­tri­tion food se­cu­rity and poverty re­duc­tion in the generations to come. Let us work to­gether to­wards a Zim­babwe free from hunger, poverty and mal­nu­tri­tion.”

The First Lady em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of breast­feed­ing.

“I want to high­light that breast­feed­ing is the foun­da­tion of life and nu­tri­tious foods need to be fed to our chil­dren af­ter the exclusive breast­feed­ing pe­riod,” she said. “Let us breast­feed our chil­dren.

“The Govern­ment and a num­ber of non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and de­vel­op­ment part­ners have demon­strated their com­mit­ment to­wards elim­i­nat­ing the nu­tri­tion chal­lenges in the coun­try through ini­ti­at­ing countrywide sup­ple­men­tary pro­grammes.

“The Sustainable De­vel­op­ment Goals No. 2 and 3 call upon us to en­sure ad­e­quate nu­tri­tion, es­pe­cially look­ing at chil­dren un­der the age of six years.”

The First Lady en­cour­aged women in Matabeleland North to get screened for breast and cer­vi­cal can­cer.

Through the An­gel of Hope Foun­da­tion, of which she is the pa­tron, the First Lady has been lead­ing in the fight against can­cer by urg­ing women to get screened for cer­vi­cal and breast can­cer early.

“Can­cer has rav­aged the lives of our moth­ers,” she said. “The pro­vin­cial med­i­cal di­rec­tor has been telling me that we do not have can­cer screen­ing here in Mat North.

“I was touched be­cause can­cer does not have signs to show, and if not screened early, you will get to know about it when it is at the last stage. Our women are dy­ing of can­cer which is a silent killer dis­ease. I will en­gage the Min­istry of Health and also the Pres­i­dent him­self so that they help us to have some screen­ing done here. If de­tected early, it can be cured.”

The First Lady in­tro­duced her clean homes cam­paign in the province, as part of her drive to pro­mote clean­li­ness and hy­gienic prac­tices to cur­tail the spread of wa­ter-borne dis­eases.

The First Lady, who has won the 2018 Mat­ter Hu­man­i­tar­ian Award, ex­pressed con­cern over the rise in child mar­riages.

“We want the girl child to go to school,” she said. “Mar­ry­ing off un­der-aged girls will ac­tu­ally bring prob­lems to the fam­i­lies. Vana baba tokumbi­ra­sawo kuti vana vayende kuchikoro vapedze chikoro vorega kuku­ru­midza ku­zowanikwa.

“Chil­dren should grow up and ma­ture be­fore get­ting mar­ried. Women should refuse to marry off their daugh­ters. If we marry our chil­dren early, the prob­lem will al­ways come back to us women.”

Speak­ing at the same oc­ca­sion, Min­is­ter of State for Matabeleland North Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs Richard Moyo thanked the First Lady for launch­ing the nu­tri­tion pro­gramme in the province.

He said the pro­gramme will go a long way in re­duc­ing cases of acute and chronic mal­nu­tri­tion.

“This is one of your many ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grammes which are un­der the An­gel of Hope Foun­da­tion ban­ner which this province has ben­e­fited from,” he said.

“What makes your pro­grammes so im­por­tant is that they are in line with Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s Vision 2030 goals and as­pi­ra­tions which in­clude guar­an­teed na­tional food se­cu­rity, af­ford­able, com­pet­i­tive and ac­ces­si­ble health and ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices to our peo­ple.”

Matabeleland North pro­vin­cial med­i­cal di­rec­tor Dr Pugie Tawanda Chim­berengwa ex­pressed gratitude for the First Lady’s in­ter­ven­tions in the province.

- (Pic­ture by John Man­zongo)

First Lady Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa feeds Melody Tshuma dur­ing the launch of a sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing pro­gramme for un­der-five chil­dren at Ntabazin­duna Clinic,just out­side Bu­l­awayo, yes­ter­day.

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