Mat South children suffer malnutrion

UMZINGWANE - Health authorities have warned that children here are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and require immediate treatment.

Authorities warned of an unfolding humanitarian emergency in Matabeleland South Province.

Children are struggling to recover from severe drought that has hit the region and led to a sharp decline in both livestock and crop production.

The impact according to analysts will continue into 2017.

According to statics availed to journalists by Umzingwane District Hospital officials during a UN tour of Matabeleland South Province,  373 children out of the 2 810 under-fives weighed in the month of February, were moderately underweight which represents 13,2 percent of the children.

Another 24 children were severely underweight, as an El Nino drought bites the southern African region.

At least 30 children were severely stunted, while 71 were moderately stunted.

Boys were more affected by malnutrition than girls.

“Boys are more affected by acute malnutrition than girls. Severe stunted growth affected boys than girls, especially between the ages of 12 and 23 months,” the analysis by the hospital read.

The United Nations Children’s Fund projects that at least 32 000 children in Zimbabwe will have acute malnutrition in 2016 as a result of the drought.

Severe acute malnutrition is the most dangerous form of malnutrition. If left untreated, it can result in death.

Typically, children with severe acute malnutrition would have had a massive loss of body fat and muscle tissue.

An estimated 20 000 boxes of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) will be needed to treat the 32 000 children projected to have severe acute malnutrition in 2016 at a cost of $1,2 million, according to Unicef.

So far, the UN children’s agency has procured 11 000 boxes of RUTF and 1 000 boxes of Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food (RUSF) for treating children with moderate malnutrition.

Comments (1)

mat province is generally marginalised! the region is so deprived of recognition when it comes to development priorities. with the death of the former industrial hub, the situation is compounded to a fatal extent. the most vulnarable are the young and the old who are usually dependent on the economically active age group. the misfortune of the dependent age group is that the active population is unemployed. ngos are the solitary & faint ray of hope as there seem to be no-one else concerned about the plight of the region.

SaManyika Chaiye - 23 April 2016

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