Mulanje registers reduces stunting among under-five children

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By Malawi News Agency 

Mulanje District is making strides in the fight against stunting in under-five children with a recent baseline survey by Afikepo showing that it now stands at 31.1 per cent.

This is a reduction from 36.5 per cent which was recorded in the 2016 demographic health survey (DHS).

Despite the achievement falling short of the World Health Organization’s 20-30 percentage range, the district hopes it will reduce stunting to 25 per cent by 2022, according to Mulanje District Development Plan (DDP 2018-2022).

Afikepo’s study observed that there is low dietary diversity and, unsatisfactory maternal and child nutrition which are due to lack of finances and inadequate information on nutrition.

The study also attributed the current situation to cultural taboos, religious beliefs, climate change, seasonability of foods and lack of male involvement in matters of nutrition.

Acting Senior Nutrition, HIV and AIDS Officer, Mayamiko Makondi said the findings of the study shows that the district is moving in the right direction, adding that the district still needs to intensify its approaches in dealing with stunting.

“We need to take a life cycle approach in dealing with this challenge and we should target all the stages from under-five children, adolescents to pregnant and lactating mothers,” he said.

Since May 2019, Afikepo has been implementing a one-year nutrition sensitive agriculture component program to help curb the problem in the district.

The project focused on promoting various strategies and interventions both at community and household levels.

The interventions include Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) package, cooking demonstrations and school feeding among others.

It also aimed at strengthening district and community structures on agriculture and nutrition to foster implementation in the district.

Afikepo Project Officer, Annie Chinangwa said the program has been a success since communities in the district have started to own the initiatives. 

“Communities have adopted the nutrition practices and are practising them without our involvement.

“When you move around the villages you will find that people have their own kitchen gardens,” she said.

The baseline survey was conducted in Mthiramanja, Chikumbu, Njema, Juma, Nkanda and Ndanga traditional authorities where Afikepo Project has been implemented

 

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