Nutrition Boost For Rushinga Pregnant & Lactating Women

HUNDREDS of women are set to benefit from a food distribution program targeting pregnant and lactating women in Rushinga through a partnership between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Food Program (WFP).

By Michael Gwarisa recently in Rushinga

The food relief consignment is also part of the WFP lean season assistance in 21 wards of Rushinga district where a total of 5187 beneficiaries in Rushinga which constitutes to 10999 households are set to benefit. At Rutuka, Ward 9 in Rushinga at least six women received the food packages while more from other wards are also set to benefit from this once off consignment.

In an Interview with HealthTimes, UNFPA country Rep, Dr Esther Muia said nutrition was key to pregnant woman as well as development of the unborn baby.

When a woman is pregnant, her needs are increased she is now eating for more than one person. Her nutrition needs increase and because of that, one prepares the body for child birth also. If you are not well nourished, the baby you give birth to is also not well nourished.

“If you have low iron levels and you are not well nourished, say you have iron deficiency, you can die from bleeding during child birth because you don’t have enough iron in your body. That’s one of the basic dietary needs for pregnant women,” said Dr Muia.

WFP Programme Officer Nutrition Safinaz ElTahir Ahemed shares a moment with one of the beneficiaries in Rushinga (Pic By Michael Gwarisa)
WFP Programme Officer Nutrition Safinaz ElTahir Ahemed shares a moment with one of the beneficiaries in Rushinga (Pic By Michael Gwarisa)

She added that a pregnant women should be exposed to various nutritious foods which also carry micro nutrients necessary for adequate child development during the pregnancy period.

“Because the pregnancy goes on for nine months, the nutritional needs should not just be of one type but a range of others. One’s blood levels need to be adequate because during child birth, you do lose blood and you lose blood and you are already have low blood level, then the chances of you dying are much faster.”

Mr Wilson Muzvondiwa from UNFPA poses for a photo with some of the preganant women who had received the food packages in Rushinga (Pic by Michael Gwarisa)
Mr Wilson Muzvondiwa from UNFPA poses for a photo with some of the pregnant women who had received the food packages in Rushinga (Pic by Michael Gwarisa)

Most famers are staring poor yields in the face post the harvest season at the back of a dry spell which characterised the initial stages of the 2019/2020 summer cropping season. Without nutritional support, pregnant women are at greater risk of maternal malutrition which has negative implications of the health outcomes of both the pregnancy and the baby.

Through the arrangement between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Food Program (WFP), the women are getting 4.5 Kgs of Super cereal, six packets of ready to eat meals and 3Kgs of CSB+ porridge for each under-five.

Jane Zambezi (35) from Ward 9, Rutuka in Rushinga who is expecting her third child in the next four months. She believes the food aid has come at the right time.

“We just want to thank the WFP and UNFPA for this recognition, the hunger in these parts can be severe. At times, one can go for a week without having a proper meal and at times you just eat once in the afternoon every day and probably eat the following day in the afternoon again.

“As a pregnant women, it’s not healthy to go for long without having food. We pray that we continue getting the food items until after I give birth, “said Jane.

The WFP in partnership with Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO) use vulnerable indicators within the villages which include age, illness, family set up, food sufficiency and household level, lievstock among others to identify beneficiaries. In the process, pregnant women are given a chance to register for food assistance.

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