Climate

Dewure community joins fight against malnutrition

By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu

Masvingo – Villagers of Dewure community in Bikita District have joined the country in the fight against malnutrition as El Nino induced drought causes severe food shortages.

This came out during a media tour that was recently held in Bikita at Dewure Rural Health Centre organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

UNICEF is running a climate change campaign titled “Invest in Climate, Invest in Children”

People in the village are doing all they can to fight malnutrition by ensuring that every child gets screened.

Nurse in Charge at Dewure Rural Health Centre, Rambanepasi Haruvandi said that they are doing all they can as a facility to improve child’s nutrition and health.

“Here, at Dewure we screen children from 0-5years to check their health. Once one is found not healthy after assessment we then administer a daily portion of plumby nut, a peanut based paste which improves health. We do not stop there, we keep on monitoring the health of the child until there is improvement,” she said.

She added that there are likely to be more cases of malnutrition this year due to food shortages being experienced in the country.

“There is hunger this year and we are likely to have more cases of malnutrition due to lack of food. We are also likely to get more children being admitted since there is no food, parents are failing to buy nutritious food for their children.

So far the Clinic has 2 kids admitted, one is 23months old and the other is 18months old and are both girls,” stated Haruvandwi.

Haruvandwi stated that the Clinic is well prepared to take in more cases of malnutrition.

“We are expecting more cases and we are more than prepared. We have enough plumbnut for the kids so we are able to sustain if there are increases in emergency cases. So we are advising people to take traditional foods and make sure their kids are well nourished,” she said.

Village Health Worker, Catherine Rungisa said that as a way to fight against malnutrition they trained 11 promoters and 216 lead mothers who also trained other women in partnership with Government and funding from UNICEF.

“We taught the women to do fushai where they save their money and withdraw with interest and pay it back. We teach them hygiene and nutrition. Bikita is a drought prone district so, we advised them to grow small grains and indigenous crops and now they make fritters, sausages and porridge from what is readily available,” said Rungisa.

A villager from the area, Faith Gomba Zvoushe stated that, “We were taught to take care of our kids by giving the nutritious foods. I am giving my kids food with micro nutrients that are good for the kids’ growth.

I am making porridge from sweet potatoes and avocados by mixing the 2 and it’s high in nutrients that kids need to grow up healthy” she said.

Memory Mungoza of Village 3 said they are facing challenges of hunger.

“Things are very difficult in our area and there is hunger, we are failing to take care of our kids. So now we are making use of what we have so as to make sure our kids have enough to eat rather than having a meal or two a day and this has proved to be beneficial for us.

 “Some of the food stuffs we need are not always readily available so we end up buying yet we do not have money,” she said.

Zidya Advance, the government district nutritionist said that before they never used to have cases of malnutrition during sowing season.

“The first quarter was bad and the second quarter cases increased but they are now moderate. It is rare before we never received cases of malnutrition during the sowing season.

 “But now it’s different, we did not receive adequate rains. We are advising people to make use of what they harvested but the challenge is it was not enough or there is nothing at all,” he said.

The UNICEF Zimbabwe chief communications officer, Yves Willemot said that the Dewure community is doing all they can to make sure they fight against malnutrition.

“The communities have joined forces and are working tirelessly to make sure they fight against malnutrition, El Nino is threatening and there is need to come up with ways to build resilience and for an enhanced livelihoods,” he said.

Wilemot said they are calling for the need to put children at the centre of climate investments as El Nino indused drought is impacting severely on children.

“With the escalating impact of climate change on children’s well-being, there is a pressing demand for increased investment in child centred climate strategies. This is essential to amplify climate-resilient programmes, enhance household and caregiver resilience to climate shocks, and mitigate the long term effects of climate change on future generations.”

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