BUJUMBURA March 28th (ABP) – The Burundian Association of Pediatrics (ABUPED), in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, organized Friday, March 25, 2022 in Bujumbura, the annual congress of pediatrics under the theme: “good nutrition: a key to a better future for children and adolescents.”
In his opening address, the Minister in charge of public health, Dr. Sylvie Nzeyimana indicated that the theme chosen for this year is particularly close to the heart of the highest authorities of this country. She recalled that the “zero malnutrition” campaign by 2025 was launched by the First Lady of the Republic of Burundi, Mrs. Angéline Ndayishimiye.
According to Minister Nzeyimana, child nutrition is an essential basis for the survival of the human species in general and the psycho-cognitive development of the child in particular, especially if it is well conducted in its first 1000 days. of life.
Although food is essential, it is often lacking in quality and quantity. It leads to the appearance of growth problems in children and especially malnutrition in all its forms, she said.
According to this health professional, solving the problem of malnutrition in the short, medium and long term remains one of the major challenges of concern to the government of Burundi and its partners.
According to Ms. Nzeyimana, Burundi is among the countries with the highest chronic malnutrition rate in Africa and in the world.
The EDSB report (2016-2017) showed an alarming situation with 6% global acute malnutrition, an underweight rate of 29% and a chronic malnutrition rate of 56% among children under five.
Young children are particularly affected with around 10% of children aged 6-18 months suffering from acute malnutrition, and 2.6% of infants under 6 months suffering from acute malnutrition, she said.
Dr. Nzeyimana also pointed out that although malnutrition is ceded to household poverty, many studies have revealed that malnutrition affects poor households as well as non-poor households.
The prevention of malnutrition is essential and must go through knowledge of risk factors, knowledge of nutritional needs and the involvement of all stakeholders, in particular the staff in charge of the growing child, she insisted.
She noted that the major causes of malnutrition include poor hygiene and sanitation practices, low access to adequate food for the majority of households, inappropriate feeding practices, limited access to safe drinking water, the difficult access to health services, the high cost of living, the low level of education of women, the prevalence of childhood diseases, in particular diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections including pneumonia.
The Minister responsible for health took this opportunity to congratulate ABUPED’s initiative to bring together health professionals and nutrition stakeholders to review the various problems related to child nutrition and make recommendations aimed at improving the prevention and management of the main nutritional pathologies of children.
According to the ABUPED chairperson, Dr. Alice Ndayishimiye, most children are at greatest risk of malnutrition between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.
But, it does not mean that the other periods of growth are without risk of occurrence of nutritional disorders. It should also be noted that during the period of adolescence, special attention is more than a necessity. She explained that during this period, an insufficient intake of mineral salts and vitamins can lead to health problems both immediately and in adulthood. She cited osteoporosis, anemia especially in young girls, young mothers giving birth to underweight babies, and others.
According to Mrs. Ndayishimiye, the prevention of malnutrition is possible and this requires the promotion of good practices in child and adolescent nutrition, including good practices in breastfeeding, the success food diversification, structured and balanced meals in adolescence.
It has also added growth monitoring, which can help identify children at risk of developing nutritional disorders at an early stage. It should be noted that ABUPED was created on June 14, 2011 by pediatricians.