BUJUMBURA October 9th (ABP) – Malnutrition still remains a reality in Burundi, especially for children under the age of five, a challenge that the Office of the First Lady for the Development of Burundi (OPDD-Burundi), is addressing. is committed to lifting. According to the executive secretary of that office, Dr. Jean Bosco Girukwishaka, during a press briefing he held on Tuesday, October 4, to announce the holding of the high-level forum of women leaders. Forum to be held from October 10 to 12 of the current year.
Referring to surveys conducted by ISTEEBU on food covering the year 2020, he noted that stunting, especially for children under five, was around 50%, while this rate was between 3 and 6% of children under 5 in a situation of acute malnutrition.
Mr. Girukwishaka said that the office is committed to meeting this challenge by supporting the interventions of sector ministries and partners. In this regard, he pointed out that the theme of the 2nd edition of this forum in 2021 was: “women leaders let us mobilize against malnutrition in Burundi”. A forum which has borne fruit, according to him because, he mentioned, the observation is that the data of the survey carried out by ISTEEBU concerning the year 2021, there has been a reduction in the rate of malnutrition. Thus the rate of acute malnutrition fell from 6 to 4.8% “which shows that the forum has contributed”. He explains that alongside the causes of lack of food there is also a lack of knowledge about food nutrients. Knowledge that the forum has helped to disseminate.
At a time when women leaders had to take the lead, some do not take the initiative to disseminate that knowledge and good practices in the community. These forums, according to the executive secretary of OPDD-Burundi, overcome this shortcoming. A reason to be for those forums in order to challenge them to return to the community.
Still in nutrition, Mr. Girukwishaka pointed out that the 1st lady, as godmother of the national school feeding program, has set herself the objective that each student must have food at school. To achieve this, OPDD-Burundi contributes to the achievement of this objective, through advocacy and the mobilization of national and international partners.
In that regard, Mr. Girukwishaka indicated that the United States government is committed to supporting this program over a period of five years to the tune of $25 million. Followed by the Chinese government which agreed to get involved as well. Currently, schools benefiting from the “school canteen” program cover 25% of all listed establishments in Burundi, again according to Mr. Girukwishaka.