TESTIMONY – Malnutrition contributes to about half the instances of mortality in children under the age of five in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This report comes from Kenge in the west of the country, where malnutrition is little known by the population.
Papa Kinzabi lives in the vicinity of Fasamba in Kenge, within the territory of the Kwango Province. We meet him at the edge of a road, carrying his baby of nine months in his arms on his way to the health centre.
“I’m bringing my sick child to the health centre because he has a cough, a cold, and a fever.” Papa Kinzabi thinks that his baby has the flu and does not imagine that, in the following minutes, another diagnosis will be given.
After quickly being tended to at the Fasamba Health Centre and a consultation, Papa Kinzabi learns that his child is affected by malnutrition. “Since she turned six months old, we have given her a gruel made of biscuits, to which we added a bit of sugar.”
Not knowing good practices
As Patricia Kyle, UNICEF specialist in nutrition, highlighted, “this child did not have a good diet because the biscuit and sugar combination did not provide anything to the child.” In the Kwango Province, infant and child malnutrition is a real problem. The case of Papa Kinzabi is one of many cases that we discover every day in the little village and its surrounds.
Papa Kinzabi received advice at the health centre. “I learnt that what is necessary for my child to eat well from now on is a composite diet that may contain fish, meat, peanut paste, rice, soya, etc.”
He received advice by participating in a support group organised by Fasamba community representatives, and backed by UNICEF. The group raises the population’s awareness about infant and child diets. From now on, Papa Kinzabi will favour a rich, composite diet. It is with hope that this father, worried about the health of his child, returned to his home.
Appropriate nutrition allows us to ensure that the child has a good start to their life. In collaboration with its partners, UNICEF has adopted a life-cycle approach by creating and reinforcing integrated interventions in order to maximise their efficacy, for example by combining vitamin A supplements with other accelerated interventions to favour the survival of the child, in the framework of child health demonstrations.
More info about malnutrition in DRC :
Translated from French by Darren Ou Young
Depuis 2009, Douglas, cinéaste, a participé à de plusieurs projets mis en place par l’UNICEF et a formé de nombreux Enfants-Reporters. Au delà de la passion, l’image est pour lui un moyen efficace de dire au-delà des mots!
Since 2009, Douglas, filmmaker, has participated in several UNICEF projects and has trained many Child-Reporters . Beyond his passion, he finds that the image is the perfect way to say what words cannot!
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