The Minister of Health, Dr Gashumba Diane has said that some regions have children under five years suffering stunted growth and malnutrition not because of food shortage but rather due to ignorance on proper feeding regimes.
She revealed this during the launch of the ‘Learning Route Exchange Program’ that showcases Rwanda’s priorities in eradicating malnutrition.
The event is being held in collaboration with Scale Up Nutrition ( SUN) Alliance Rwanda and Civil society.
“Parents have inadequate knowledge on the proper quantities and quality of food they are supposed to serve their children. There is also the problem of hygiene. Balanced diet with the absence of hygiene would be useless in controlling diseases,” she said.
Minister Gashumba explained that they are collaborating with local leaders to help mothers understand preparation of balanced diet as a foundation for sustainable child development.
Butera John R. Mugabe, Chairman of SUN Alliance Rwanda said that children’s stunted growth is not seen in starving children only but even children with enough food grow improperly.
“Though there is a problem of poverty, you know that almost 80% of Rwandans have food sufficiency. Yet the matter of stunted growth is not seen only among the remaining 20% of the poor,” he said.
He explained that SUN Alliance operates within 79 families and targeted to fight against malnutrition in collaboration with the government of Rwanda to eradicate the matter by 2030.
He explained that delegates from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe will visit Nyanza and Gisagara districts to witness milk collection centers performance as one of the measures in eradicating malnutrition.
Statistics from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) indicate that 38% of children under five have growth problems, 9% are underweight while 3% face hunger.
Western Province tops with the largest number of children with stunted growth at 45%, followed by Southern province at 41%, Northern Province at 39%, Eastern Province 35% and Kigali city at 23%.