Stunting among Rwandan children upto five years has reduced, according to Dr Asiimwe Anita, the coordinator for National Early Childhood Development Program (NECDP).
Previous figures by the National Institute of Statistics (NISR) in 2015 showed that Stunting in children was 38% .
Dr Asiimwe says the numbers have since dropped. She said that the reduction in stunting levels will be vindicated by NISR’s next survey in 2020.
She made this remark yesterday during the ongoing citizens mobilization and awareness campaign on integrated Early Childhood Development (ECD) services to eliminate stunting among Rwandan children in different parts of the country.
The forum was organised by the Ministry of Family and Gender Promotion (MIGEPROF) in partnership with the City of Kigali and other stakeholders to share ideas on how to intervene in problems facing Rwandan society such as malnutrition, early childhood development, gender based violence and teen pregnancies, among others.
“When you refer to 38% of stunted children, these are the figures that we get from NISR in 2015, but we are sure that those figures have reduced even if we cannot immediately show the exact level which is why we have to wait for another survey to be released in 2020 as the survey is done every five years,” she said.
According to Dr Asiimwe, one of NECDP goals was to eradicate malnutrition as it was revealed in its strategic review on food and nutrition security. In this goal, stunting would go down from 38 percent to 18 percent in 2018.
Asiimwe recommended all stakeholders including parents and government institutions to draw efforts together so that a child who has been diagnosed with malnutrition can be cared for early.
After 12 days, the child recovers and gets better. However, she emphasised that malnutrition can be prevented because when it happens after 1000 days of their lives, it is very difficult to reverse.
“You find out that one institution does something and the other repeats the same thing. But it is imperative that all those actions be closely followed up because even if each does its actions, there should be a check-up, complementarity and unison so that all those efforts can be put together to give enough yield. No efforts will be dispersed nor will one institution repeat what the other has done,” She advised.
Prof. Jean Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda a researcher and former director of Rwanda Agricultrure Board said that the vow that all institutions agreed to reducing the number of stunted children will be achieved when institutions collaborate.
“There are those that require money while others do not. For Instance, collaboration where plans are put together in the implementation and capacity and report. What all institutions do to eradicate that issue can have a significant result. There is willingness by the government and stakeholders, but what is necessary is to coordinate activities.”
Prof. Mbonigaba Muhinda says that in that review, it was revealed that stunting is caused by different cultures and eating habits, among others.
He explains that the crops that people grow are not the only ones rich in nutrients needed to combat malnutrition. He said that there is need for Rwandans to have more capacity about how to buy other crops that they do not grow locally because they play a role in curbing malnutrition.