Residents in Mushubati sector of Rutsiro district have commended “umugoroba w’ababyeyi”, for reducing malnutrition among children.
Malnutrition is a key public health issue and is one of the major causes of infant, child and maternal morbidity and mortality.
‘Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi,’ translated as ‘Evening for Parents’ is a time when parents from the same village sit together, discuss government policies, and social issues like gender issues, domestic violence, domestic sanitation, nutrition, and family planning, and educate each other in general about different subjects for the sake of families’ welfare.
It begun in 2010, it started as ‘Umugoroba w’Abagore’ (Evening for Mothers) but was changed to include men, to highlight the important roles of both parents in family life.
“Malnutrition had become a common problem among children. However, it has reduced with introduction of umugoroba w’ababyeyi program,” said Drocelle Uwimana, Director of National Women’s Council in Mushubati sector.
“Embrace the programme and help each other to eradicate malnutrition among children,” said Alexis Mucumbitsi of the nutrition desk in the Ministry of Health.
‘Evening for Parents’ comes after the government of Rwanda launched an initiative called Thousand Days. The objective of this campaign is to improve the nutrition status of the vulnerable populations.
The campaign targets children less than five years, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as school-going children, in efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality related to malnutrition.
The anti-malnutrition campaign include sensitizing residents on the kitchen garden, educating parents on how to give their children fortified food, especially vegetables, fruits and milk, and to create awareness against diseases that are associated with poor feeding among others.
According to the most recent statistics, the 2010 Rwandan Demographic and Health Survey (RDHS, 2010), 44% of children under the age of five years chronic suffer from malnutrition or stunting.
The ministry of health partners with MIGEPROF, MINAGRI, MINEDUC & MINALOC as well as UNICEF to ensure the success of the campaign.