By Michael Gwarisa In Kariba
KARIBA District has recorded a decline in malnutrition cases since 2016 owing to rigorous interventions by the ministry of health in collaboration with Save the Children.
In an interview on the sidelines of a media sensitisation tour in Siyakobvu, Save the Children Nutrition Officer, Talent Kadungu said malnutrition has been on the decline since the adoption of the interventions in the various districts including Kariba and Binga.
“Kariba has been one of the most affected regions in the country with cases of severe malnutrition and moderate malnutrition being recorded in the area.
“The biggest cause of malnutrition in the area has been the poor food situation which was driven by the Elnino among other factors. This area receives low to minimum rainfall and it affects yields,” said Kadungu.
Acute malnutrition has been a challenge in Zimbabwe and this has been escalated by the El Nino induced droughts that have affected most districts in the country.
Kariba District has been one of the worst affected districts reporting high levels of malnutrition. In 2016 prevalence of global acute malnutrition among children under five years was 17.3%, a figure noted as excessively high.
Through various efforts by the Ministry of Health and Child Care with support from NGOs such as Save the Children International the district has realised reduction in cases of malnutrition.
Kariba District Nutritionist Mr Russels Chipere said the two previous health surveys conducted in the district this year, a Nutrition SMART Survey (Ministry of Health) in January and an End-line Project Survey (Save the Children International) in October showed that malnutrition was going down and that prevalence of global acute malnutrition was around 5.1%.
Speaking to the media Mr Dexter Chagwena from the National Nutrition Unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, highlighted the great strides that have been achieved but added that the district is still one of the worst affected in the country.
“I want to praise the great work by health workers in the district and their supporting partner, Save the Children but there is need to have more stakeholders taking part in the nutrition programme to eradicate malnutrition.
“Malnutrition is both a health and social problem that requires the whole community including business people, all government departments, churches, community social groups and others to come together and address malnutrition from a multi-sectorial perspective,” said Chagwena.
Meanwhile, Save the Children has engaged Village health workers to help drive the nutrition and Water and Sanitation Project in the area. The project is being funded by the Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).