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Bulawayo records rise in malnutrition

by Staff reporter
12 Apr 2021 at 18:34hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it has recorded a sharp increase in malnutrition cases in the past few months owing to a prolonged Covid-19-induced lockdown.

This comes as at least
2 000 children countrywide have been hospitalised for severe acute malnutrition in the first quarter of 2021, according to the United Nations (UN).

Since last March, Zimbabwe has been in a lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic with movement and operating times of most businesses severely restricted.

With the majority of Zimbabweans' livelihoods dependent on the informal sector, most households' incomes were negatively impacted by the lockdown.

"A slight increase in the number of cases suffering from acute malnutrition, a serious cause for public health concern.  

"The lack of food quality and quantity of food was partly a result of prolonged lockdown measures to reduce transmission and spread of Covid-19," BCC health services director Edwin Sibanda said.

According to the Zimbabwe Nutrition Cluster, the advent of Covid-19 and its restrictions had socio-economic negative impacts limiting access to nutritious foods by families.  

The report also indicates that the pandemic also negatively impacted the supply and demand of essential health and nutrition services.

According to Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) 2020, the national global acute malnutrition prevalence is 3,7 percent and the national severe acute malnutrition prevalence is 1,45 percent.

Sibanda however, pointed out that, on the other hand, besides malnutrition, the BCC has recorded a decrease in diarrhoea cases.

"Diarrhoea cases (220) had decreased in January 2021 compared to the previous month (446).

"This was due in part to Emergency Response Mechanisms (ERMs) and the rains that had improved access to potable water," he said.  

Last year, Bulawayo was under spotlight after diarrhoea threatened to go out of control killing 13 people while affecting over
2 000 people, a situation that was attributed to water shortages.

Sibanda also revealed that in the period under review, the city reported two malaria cases, despite the city being regarded as a non-malaria area.

"Both malaria cases were imported. Bulawayo is a non-malaria area and is currently on course regarding the implementation of malaria elimination activities.  

"The achievement could have been a result of natural processes and success of interventions that included vector control (larviciding, stream bank clearing), case notification, management, and investigation," he said.

Meanwhile, the health service director noted that the city remained on high alert for Covid-19.

"In view of the risky behaviours that drove transmission in Bulawayo, the city scaled up effective, relevant, tailor-made, context-specific ERMs for all pillars to contain the outbreak," he said.

Source - dailynews