Malnutrition Deaths Worry Balaka Authorities
A rise in deaths from severe malnutrition in Balaka district during the first quarter of the year has worried authorities calling for concerted efforts to address the problem.
Balaka Principal Nutrition and HIV/Aids Officer, Lucious Njobvu, says nine under 5 children died of severe malnutrition between January and March this year, higher than one child who died same period last year 2020.
Njobvu says food insecurity and shifting all efforts to Covid 19 pandemic neglecting other health challenges are some of the factors contributing to the increase.
"More efforts have been channeled towards Covid 19 pandemic, almost neglecting other diseases including malnutrition.
"Food insecurity and delays in health seeking behavior are also other factors contributing to the increase and we need to do all we can to overcome this challenge," says Njobvu.
Steven khuleya, Find Your feet District Coordinator, whose organization is implementing nutrition project, says they have joined the wagon to build resilience through different interventions.
"We organized a nutrition fair alongside other stakeholders to showcase some of the interventions we are undertaking to combat malnutrition," says Khuleya.
Chairperson for Balaka District Council, Michael Chauluka, has called upon all stakeholders to join hands in raising awareness about dangers of malnutrition and stuntedness so as to win the fight.
Chauluka said: "We rely on several partners to reverse this alarming increase of deaths of our children due to severe malnutrition as we cannot solely manage this on our own."
Demographic Health Survey of 2015 - 2016 showed that stuntedness rate for Balaka was at 33 percent.