Malnutrition cases in Rwanda would be reduced significantly soon as the ongoing survey defines real causes and comes up with suitable approaches to handle the issue, stakeholders have committed.
The commitment was made today on April 1, 2014 during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between two leading government ministries namely the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and Ministry of Health, and support partners including CIAT, WHO, UNICEF, WFP and FAO.
The MoU was inked at the sideline of the ongoing second global conference on bio-fortification that is taking place from 31st March to 02nd April, 2014 at Kigali Serena Hotel.
Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and CIAT are the entities working technically on the survey while other partners will also play a significant role all along the survey.
The study, with about 500,000 USD budget, is targeting children under 22 months and women of reproductive age.
Though nutrition data indicate that the country is committed to improve nutrition, the stakeholders noted, but rate of malnutrition cases among children is still high; hence new interventions are needed.
According to Minister Dr Agnes Kalibata, Rwanda managed to reduce malnutrition cases among children under two-year old to 44% from 74% in a very short time. She however noted that the country, in collaboration with partners, will keep reducing the rate and be able to get a significant impact soon.
“We take nutrition in this country very seriously,” the minister told the stakeholders during a brief meeting.
The survey, scheduled from January to November this year, will interview 2,736 households from 9 districts namely Rubavu, Ngororero, Gakenke, Musanze, Kirehe, Nyagatare, Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe and Gasabo.
During the survey, nutrition, market and gender will be examined and see how they are related with malnutrition at households, a CIAT official has noted.
The study, set to include assessment of biochemical indicators of nutrition status, will help to understand broadly the issue, identify best approaches in addressing the issue while focusing on home-grown solutions.
CIAT’s Director General,Ruben Echeverría, expressed his organization’s commitment and noted that they will go on with such activities even after this ongoing survey.
“This is just the beginning,” he pointed out.
This survey examining malnutrition status in Rwanda takes place in a time that the country has launched a 1000-day anti malnutrition campaign which kicked off in September last year.