Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) is working towards implementing the Care Group Model for breast feeding mothers and care givers of children under the age of 5 as a measure to resolve malnutrition and stunting in the country.
By Tracy Ndhlovu
Speaking at the National Nutrition Seminar in Harare today, Nutrition Specialist from AMALIMA, Pamela Ncube stressed on the significance of Care Group formation in communities in order to enhance and improve nutritional balance for lactating mothers and children under the age of two to avoid stunting.
“1 every 3 children is stunted with 32% children under five years of age stunted while 3% of children between six and 23 months receive a minimum accepted diet,” said Ncube.
Stunting is defined as lower than average height for a child’s age.
Speaking on behalf of the Director for Family Health Dr Bernard Mdazima , Dr Tonderai Matsungo from the University of Zimbabwe added that national statistics have revealed a decrease in the percentages of malnutrition and stunted growth in children from 27, 6% to 26,2% from 2014 up to date.
“The Ministry of Health is intensifying its focus on promoting health for all, working together with the government departments and development partners. We are trying to promote a theme of health reform agenda for the nation,
“The birth of ENSURE, whose abbreviation stands for Enhancing Nutrition, Stepping Up Resilience and Enterprise programme ,AMALIMA, in Matabeleland North and South provinces came as a panacea to the challenge of stunting in the country.
“A behaviour change approach was rolled out through the Care Group Model which advocated for the improvement of health seeking behaviours in our communities with pregnant and lactating women under the age of 2 registered as beneficiaries,” he added.
Matsungo said the Care Group Model is a good practise worth adopting as it enhances behavioural changes in parents through peer group support resulting in the improvement of nutrition for both pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Meanwhile, USAID is working on the long term Food Security to achieve improved nutritional and health seeking practises.