Severe malnutrition has killed 45 under-five children in Chikwawa district in the Lower Shire as statistics also indicate that various public facilities there admitted 4, 137 children from January to June this year.
Chikwawa Health office spokesperson Settie Piriminta confirmed and attributed the high cases of malnutrition to acute food shortage and delays by parents to take malnourished children to hospital.
Piriminta added that lack of safe drinking water and natural hazards like floods are also to blame for the escalating cases.
“It is sad that we continue to receive high number of malnourished children,” complained Piriminta.
From January to June this year, the Nutrition Rehabilitation unit attended to 250 children with severe acute malnutrition with medical complications, 784 children with severe acute malnutrition without medical complications and 3, 103 children with moderate acute malnutrition admitted in supplementary feeding program.
Piriminta explained that it was worrisome that people waste time in consulting traditional doctors instead of rushing with these sick children to health facilities.
“We are currently carrying out several sensitization meetings where among others we are encouraging communities to visit health facilities with sick children in time,” said the hospital spokesperson.
Visiting the nutrition unit at the hospital, one would note that the place has limited space with old rooms. The unit has only twelve beds which make it difficult to admit a growing number of patients they receive on daily basis.
Piriminta then called on well wishers to support the nutrition rehabilitation unit with adequate resources in order to provide better services to these malnourished children.
But Health authorities say local leaders have to control the selling of green maize and other items like banana, sweet potatoes, tomato and cassava saying failure to do so will make families to continue experiencing acute food shortage.
Recently, one of the agriculture authorities in Chikwawa, Basten Chilembwe said people from the shire valley must learn to eat from their produce citing many people had an opportunity to produce more from their fields but were unable to use them instead they resorted to selling them even before they were matured enough.
Chilembwe who is the Agriculture Extension Development Coordinator for Mbewe Extension Planning Area concurred with Sydney Labeka, District Health Surveillance Supervisor for Chikwawa district saying it was worrisome that issues of malnutrition were registering high numbers when people from the lower states had all to eat for one’s good health.
“While commending that people of Chikwawa have gone back to their fields in the aftermath of the January devastating floods and have replanted maize and other crops that are doing better in their farms, they should also learn to eat them.
“Let’s remove the business mind we have held for some time. It is worrisome that we are blessed with the water that enable us do the irrigation farming almost all year round. People from east bank side, those in the west as well as those around Kamuzu Bridge must not sell all they have produced from their farms,” he said.
He said the farms produce crops such as tomatoes, vegetables, maize, bananas and many others and it was necessary that people used them in their daily foods instead of just focusing on money adding farming needed health people for positive results.
The higher cases of malnutrition are happening when many organizations and government departments have been running food security interventions to ensure that people are food secured at household level.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :