Written by YAMIKANI SIMUTOWE
BLANTYRE--Malawi’s Department of Nutrition, HIV/AIDS in the Office of the President and Cabinet has said over 20 percent of children below the age of five have Vitamin A deficiency, describing it as a serious public health concern.
In a statement released Monday, the department says Vitamin A deficiency causes frequent illness among children due to increased vulnerability to infections.
“Currently in Malawi, 22 percent of children under five have Vitamin A deficiency and this is a serious public health concern. Vitamin A deficiency has adverse impact on child development that includes poor foetal development, poor growth and night blindness,” reads the statement in part.
The department therefore urges Malawians to consume more of fortified foods for better nutrition and health. The government is further urging the private sector and civil society organizations to jointly promote the consumption of centrally processed fortified foods.
“The government of Malawi is appealing to the general public to consume fortified sugar and other fortified foods. Stakeholders should join hands with the government in promoting the consumption of fortified sugar and other processed fortified foods,” further reads the statement signed by Secretary for Nutrition, HIV/AIDS Edith Mkawa.
It is on this premise that Malawi government will officially launch and commission the Sugar Fortification with Vitamin A and New Sugar Fortification Plant at Illovo Sugar at Nchalo in Chikhwawa district Thursday, October 11, 2012. Minister of Trade and Industry John Bande will preside over the ceremony.
John Kapito, Executive Director of the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama), has since hailed the government for commitment in addressing Vitamin A deficiency among under five children.
He urges all implementing partners to consolidate their efforts to ably reduce micronutrient deficiencies in Malawi.
(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited