Cultural misconception fuelling cases of malnutrition in Mzimba

Some cultural misconceptions in Mzimba that restrict parents to administer certain food to their children are said to fuel cases of malnutrition in the district.

A girl is weighed at a Health Centre where a growth monitoring clinic is screening children for malnutrition using a new text messaging system. Photo by Jennifer Yang

This was revealed during a week-long awareness campaign on infant and young child feeding organized by World Vision and Mzimba district health office across Mzimba South.

Mzimba District Health Nutrition Officer, Kondwani Mhango said there are increased cases of malnutrition among children and infants because parents are brainwashed by some cultural beliefs and they stop to administer nutritious food to their children.

Mhango said, “We thought to organize these campaigns as one way of behavioural change interventions against some cultural beliefs in these communities. Among the beliefs include weaning children once the mother is found to be pregnant.

“Again inadequate knowledge on food preparation is also one challenge leading to cases of malnutrition in the district. Mothers are not aware on how they can prepare nutritious food which contains six food groups to their children.”

Councillor for Manyamula Ward Khephas Chisi said culture has really crippled nutrition fight in the district and asked chiefs and men to take up the role of taking care for children to ensure they grow healthy.

World Vision Mutendere Area Programme team leader, Hastings Kukada said they thought to partner with the district hospital to conduct the awareness campaign on nutrition issues, malaria and others because the organization’s main focus is on children.

Kukada said, “We have invested about 3 million kwacha into the programme because the district hospital has the personnel, but they do not have the resources hence as World Vision we thought to come in and help,”

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I like the awareness campaign. Cultural beliefs has been the concern to deal with nutrition issues. Nutrition is more than just eating

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