The Federation of African Nutritionists Societies (FANUS) is worried of the persistent stunting among Under five years old children on the African Continent.
This was emphasized on Sunday, August 25, 2019 at a Press conference held in Kigali ahead of the 4th FANUS Conference which takes place in Kigali from Monday, 26th to 29th August, 2019.
Speaking to media, Prof. Ngozi Nnan President of African Nutritionists Societies (FANUS) said that “African Continent is one of the continents where you have the highest rate of malnutrition and when you go to regions East Africa appears to have the highest rate of stunted with Rwanda having 38% of under five children stunted.”
Although child under nutrition has been declining in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is still a challenge with regards to malnutrition, in particular stunting (short height for age).
Prof. Ngozi Nnan noted that “When we talk about proper food people think of meats.”
However, she adds, “meats are not the immediate proper food! The proper foods are made of those legumes; vegetables…those foods surrounding you contain the proper nutrients.”
She calls on more investments in nutrition adding that “the best investment in life is investment in nutrition. You can invest in education of your children but when they don’t eat well they will not develop. The brain will not develop if it does not get all adequate nutrients.”
Some countries have achieved good progress towards reduction of stunting.
For example, according to the 2014-15 Rwanda DHS, stunting declined from 51% in 2010 to 38% in 2015 among under five-year old children.
According to Alex Mucumbitsi, Head of the Nutrition and Hygiene Department in Rwanda National Early Childhood Care and Development Program “The leadership in Rwanda is committed to reduce stunting from the current 38% stunting rate to 19% by 2024”.
According to World Health Assembly every country should reduce stunting to at least 50% by 2022.
Reacting on the conference, the president of Rwanda Nutritionists Society Dr. Christine Mukantwali said that “The conference itself is a good platform to jointly strengthen the functioning of national nutrition societies and influence nutrition in Africa. And Rwanda will particularly benefit in diverse ways: policy makers, decision makers, program implementers and professionals will get updated knowledge and best practices from diverse speakers of the conference. By sharing what Rwanda does to reduce malnutrition, the conference attendees will also provide their insights as a way for improvement.”
Rwanda was selected to host the conference based on its strong leadership and political commitment to eliminate all forms of malnutrition. Being active member of FANUS and International Union of Nutrition Sciences (IUNS), the Rwanda Nutritionists’ Society (RNS) was mandated to organize the conference in collaboration with FANUS executive committee.
The event will be managed by LIHOZA Communication & Film production Company Ltd which has recently entered Rwanda’s Communications and Marketing Industry55