Govt seeks to reduce malnutrition

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Government will roll out distribution of a micronutrient rich powder in Dowa and Lilongwe with the aim of reducing malnutrition.

This comes after a successful piloting of the program in Nkhatabay and Ntcheu districts.

Malnutrition Malawi

Malawi children malnourished. (Image:www.pri.org)

The powder sachet branded “Ndisakanizeni” in Malawi from the English “Mix Me” is a mixture of 15 vitamins and minerals that are essential for the good health of children. It is given to children aged 6 to 24 months.

Briefing the Dowa District executive council committee held at the boma and during a sensitization meeting of the District Nutrition Coordinating Committee (DNCC) at Mponela in the district, Chief

Nutritional Officer, HIV and AIDS Grace Chinamale said the micronutrient powder will improve the quality, quantity and frequency of complementary feeding of children’s diet.

Chinamale said children will be screened before they are enrolled into this program to ascertain if they qualify to start receiving the micronutrient powder.

“The powder is essential for children with high rates of vitamins and mineral deficiencies which makes them to be stunted,” she said.

Chinamale added that all children can receive the micronutrient powder except only those who are severely and acutely malnourished and those who are receiving the Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) and liquid based nutrient supplement because these products are already fortified with appropriate quantity of vitamins and minerals for a child.

She said caregivers for children suspected to be suffering from Malaria or diagnosed with the disease will be advised to stop giving their children the micronutrient powder until they recover since the product contains iron for the malaria causing plasmodium.

The nutritionist also said the micronutrient powder strengthens linkages with the nutrition sensitive interventions in water, sanitation and hygiene, agriculture and health.

In his remarks, Chief Nutritional Officer in the Ministry of Health Frank Msiska advised women and caregivers that infants and young children who are severely malnourished, should be referred to treatment centres saying the product is not medicine but a food supplement.

Msiska said the product does not have side effects since it was approved by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) and Malawi Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board.

“Once a child is enrolled, caregivers will be advised to give the child one sachet of Ndisakanizeni powder during one meal time every other day,” he said.

He added that the product among other benefits improves children’s appetite for food and reduces anaemia.

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