Monday, October 3

Health Ministry: 18%, 5% & 12% of children (5 years of age) in The Gambia are stunted, wasted and underweight respectively

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By Nelson Manneh

A Senior Program Officer at the Ministry of Health, said on Tuesday 18%, 5% & 12% of children (5 years of age) in The Gambia are stunted, wasted and underweight respectively (DHS 2019-20).

Mr Ousman Darboe said malnutrition is a global health problem, affecting mainly the women of child bearing age and the young children.

He made the comments during a training session organized by the Nutrition Unit under the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health which brought together two hundred and twelve (212) nurses (CHNs, OICs, and Care Nurses) in 6 health regions on Basic Nutrition and Targeted Supplementary Feeding (TSF).

TSF, a nutrition intervention program designed for treatment of Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) in vulnerable groups (such as children 6-59m and PLW), uses specific energy and nutrient dense supplementary food rations and provides routine medical treatment at an outpatient site.

“It is important to note that Children with MAM are at 3 times greater risk of mortality compared to well-nourished children and face greater risk of morbidity from infectious diseases and delayed physical and cognitive development,” Darboe said.

He said the TSF program not only identifies moderately malnourished children in the community, but also ensures treatment of moderate acute malnutrition and prevents deterioration to severe acute malnutrition.

“The program also supports individuals who have recovered from severe malnutrition and discharged for follow-up to prevent relapse. The program has a component on Social and Behaviour Change Communication on the proper use of the food ration at household level,” he said.

He said the Nutrition Unit under the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education, Ministry of Health, through WFP, was sending their sincere gratitude and appreciation to the People of Japan for providing the fund for the implementation of this activity geared towards improving the nutritional status of children 6-59 months and Pregnant and Lactating Women in The Gambia.

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