How controlling births has helped Ngororero women overcome stunted growth

On 7 April 2021 at 07:30

Mukamana Adelphine is a resident of Kagarama village, Gatega cell, Hindiro sector in Ngororero district. Her second child suffered from malnutrition-related diseases because the mother got pregnant again before the first child’s attainment of maturity.

She used to regularly visit the nearby health center to learn best feeding practices for a pregnant mother.

Like other mothers in Ngororero district, Mukamana says that parents should control births to ensure proper growth of children.

Mothers who spoke to IGIHE revealed that their children experienced malnutrition and stunting due to failure to control births.

Mukamana says that her child experienced malnutrition because she didn’t receive adequate nutrients as the mother got pregnant again before the child’s maturity.

“When births are not controlled, it is easier to get pregnant again which automatically puts lives of the child at high risk of stunting. The first born didn’t have health problems but the second child stunted because he was not mature by the time I gave birth to the third child. It took two months to improve the child’s health conditions,” she explains.

Mukamana said that the Government should help mothers to control births after delivery to avoid similar cases putting children at risks of stunting.

With the support of the Government, Mukamana’s child recovered that her children are now healthy.

“I gave birth at a time when I had another child under the red line facing malnutrition related issues. It took me much effort to nourish them with balanced diet. My thanks go to the Government for providing me with ‘Ongera’ flour that complemented breastfeeding to ensure my children stay healthy,” she said.

Ntawuhongerumwanzi Gaudence, another mother from Hindiro sector says she got pregnant when she had a 6-month baby. Her child suffered from malnutrition diseases that the nearby health center supported her with supplementary breastfeeding porridge flour among other necessary support to raise children properly.

“I used to eat pounded sweet potatoes which I also fed my child. I was no longer strong enough for hard labor to get money for varied foods. That is how my child started suffering from malnutrition diseases,” she explained.

After seeking support from health center, her child recovered and further trained on how to prepare balanced diet. Ntawuhongerumwanzi advised other mothers to control births to ensure they give birth to children they are able to raise and enjoy their rights to education, proper feeding among others.

“It becomes a serious problem when someone begets another child without means to take care of the first one. That is why people should learn from our experience and understand the relevance of controlling births,” she said.

The Director of Muramba Health Center located in Hindiro sector, Uwimbabazi Diane has explained that a mother who doesn’t control births after delivery might experience other associated risks.

“We regularly teach residents on birth controls. Sensitization is yielding that mindsets are changing. We have seen some cases where pregnant mothers have other children with malnutrition diseases. In such cases, we request them to come to the health center to learn how to prepare balanced diet. Considering long regular walks coming to the health center, they complete the training with a pledge to control births,” she noted.

Uwimbabazi highlighted those such mothers are often busy with children and have inadequate time to take care of their husband that it could in some cases trigger adultery.

“When births are controlled, a woman gets enough time to take care of children, herself and the husband. A child grows healthily because parents have enough time to take care of them when births are controlled for two years or beyond,” she advised.

The 6th The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in 2019/2020 shows that children stunting reduced from 38% of the previous five years to 33%.

Ngororero women have narrated how controlling births has helped them to overcome stunted growth.