The Civil Society Organisation Nutrition Alliance (CSONA) in Malawi is dejected with the current 42.4% of under five children who are stunted due to lack of comprehensive approach on nutrition.
Reading into CSONA’s study released on Thursday, May 30, 2015, ahead of a week-long, Global Day of Action (GDA) in combating malnutrition which starts today, May 1-8, 2015, shows that Malawi is still struggling with the problem as children under five with stunting remains at 42.4% which according to health experts is unwelcome development for this nation’s future.
The report shows that more than 53% of children born to mothers with no formal education are stunted, compared to 39% of children whose mothers have secondary or higher education.
Surprisingly, the study has revealed that major Malawi’s cities and semi-urban areas are topping the list of children with stunted growth including Blantyre, Lilongwe, Neno and Mwanza with 30%.
The outcomes of the study contravenes World Health Organisation (WHO)’s nutritional principal of proving good nutrition to children during the 1000 days between pregnancy and age two which is fundamental to the physical and cognitive development of infants and young children.
Speaking in an interview with Maravi Post, Virginia Mzuzu, CSONA’s secretariat coordinating officer in Malawi expressed sadness on the stunting rate for the country saying Malawi’s future was in limbo.
“Any country’s future lies in children, so if such a group of people are in this dilemma, then the nation is in a mess. Children need to be protected, fed well for the future of this nation. We must do something on our children hence our appeal to Members of Parliament (MPs) on budget allocation towards nutrition as away of scaling nutrition concept in Malawi”, urges Mzuzu.
Responding as to why major cities topping the list on children with stunted growth comparing in other semi-urban districts, she attributed to recklessness among parents on nutrition provision towards children as are always entangled with business, work for a living ignoring children’s welfare.
“Many mothers in cities are always at work or business leaving their children with baby setters or maids who cant follow nutrition food provisions. In additionally, most nutrition projects ignores or don’t include urban areas hence many families aren’t reachable compared to rural areas where are the first priority. Therefore its high time urban areas are included in any project or activities on nutrition”, articulates Mzuzu.
Reacting to the study results and calling for parliament to increase budget allocation on nutrition, Deus Gumba Banda, Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on HIV, AIDS and Nutrition assured the nation and CSONA that concerns raised will be taken seriously to parliament for action.
“We can’t allow our children to suffer like this. The committee is also shocked with the study such that much resources will be allocated on this sector as it’s a hub of Malawi’s future, so, it has to start now. I am also appealing executive agencies locally and internationally to help CSONA with its partners in combating stunting in Malawi”, urges Gumba who is also Member of Parliament for Mchinji South West Constituency.
With the them, “Keep the momentum: Nutrition at the core of Malawi’s Socio-Economic Development agenda”, this year’s main event of Global Day of Action Towards Nutrition Concept, will be held on May 8, 2015 in Mulanje district.
CSONA is comprised of Concern worldwide, World Vision, NASFAM with the vision to extend the nutrition momentum: fostering sustainable and equitable scaling-up nutrition in all sectors.