Malnutrition Spikes In Cyclone Idai Hit Communities

CHIPINGE District Hospital is battling increased cases of malnutrition emanating from Chimanimai, some parts of Chipinge and Mozamabique which were hit by the tropical cyclone idai, HealthTimes has learnt.

By Michael Gwarisa in Chipinge

Speaking to Journalists during the Post Cyclone Idai assessment media tour which was organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNDP and the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), Chipinge District Acting Medical Officer (DMO), Dr Ozimmo Matekenya said the malnutrition crisis was most prevalent in children and babies under the age of five.

In terms of recovery period, that is the period that we are in right now, we are getting cases of malnutrition. The crops were damaged and their food reservoirs were a free ted and other children lost their loved ones especially their mothers and in terms of care giving it has not been well with them that’s why they are getting malnutrition.

“If you are a child, maybe a breastfeeding child, definitely your nutrition will be affected. If you are also relocated to another place or you stay with a relative that is also affected by the cyclone, definitely your nutrition will be affected as well, so this is the sequence we are getting and if you take a nutritional history, you find out that most patients who come with malnutrition would have lost one way or the other first degree relative that was directly involved in their care,” said Dr Metekenya.

He added that even though he does not have the statics off hand, cases were being reported at an advanced stage and there was need to find a solution to the problem before it gets worse.

“Chipinge district geographically its located in such a place that gets patients as far as Chimanimani, as far as Mozambiwue as well. The degree of severity ranges from severe acute malnutrition and the most affected places are Kopera, Paidamoyo as well as from Mozambique.”

Meanwhile, the Hospital is also recording the highest cases of stunting with statistics indicating that Chipinge District Hospital currently has registered 40.7% stunting.  In Zimbabwe 1 in 4 children under the age of 5 years are being exposed to long episodes of under nutrition during their first 1000 days of life resulting in childhood stunting (shorter than expected height).

Since January 2019, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated in Zimbabwe, with 5.3 million people, including 2.5 million children , in need of assistance as a result of natural hazards, increased food insecurity, and an outbreak of diarrheal disease.

Meanwhile, according to the 2018/19 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) report, Manicaland had the highest number of people whose food consumption partens were poor as a result of food insecurity with Chipinge and Mudzi having the highest percentages. Chipinge had 66% while Mudzi had 65%.





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