Malnutrition prevents child survival in Bandundu

Malnutrition is one of many calamities among other life-threatening diseases, such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, which endanger children’s wellbeing in the Bandundu province.

According to the latest Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in 2013, nearly 4 out of 10 children in Bandundu suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Malnutrition destabilises children’s health, it renders them vulnerable to catching diseases and hinders their natural growth.

It is usually due to, on the one hand, the poverty within households that fail to properly procure food for their children, and on the other hand, to the lack of information given to families regarding adequate nutrition for the child.

Some people may believe that malnutrition affects only rural areas. In fact, malnutrition is common both in cities and in villages, although the percentages taken from surveys in cities are less compared to the percentages taken in villages.

In my neighbourhood, a girl who was around 5 years old died after she contracted an illness because she was malnourished. She is not the only one affected: I also met another boy who shows signs of malnutrition including stunting.

It is important to note that Bandundu Province has 11 health zones out of the 18 within the country in food crisis alert.

Are measures being taken to remedy this alarming situation?

Child survival, the fight against hunger as well as malnutrition now hold significant places worldwide, so much so that it is taken as the first objective of the Millennium Development.

Article 24 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child also promotes the physical wellbeing of the child, while placing special emphasis on the fight against diseases and malnutrition.

The Congolese government, through its Ministry of Health and international agencies such as UNICEF, have spared no effort to fight against malnutrition in the province. For example, we benefit from a fairly regular supply of food for the treatment and recovery of some malnourished children. In addition to these organisations, many programs are working strenuously.

Article 18, paragraph 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child sets the responsibility over the child’s education, survival and protection to the parents and all persons exercising tutelary authority over the child.

Paragraph 2 of the same article states that the Congolese state, which ratified the Convention, has committed to provide appropriate assistance to parents to ensure and promote the health of children.
In other words, this article states that parents are the key players in promoting the rights of their children and that other players come in support when necessary.

We therefore ask the parents, who are the primary caregivers to their children, to work in order to provide their children with adequate and balanced nutrition because in the future it will be the children who will take responsibilities for their families.

We ask all the programs working to fight against malnutrition in the province to organise awareness sessions with the mothers on a child’s balanced and adequate diet and to conduct advocacy to increase aid in children’s diets.

We also urge the Congolese Government to continue the fight against malnutrition by increasing the funds allocated to the health of children, by replenishing health zones that have a nutritional crisis alert and by conducting surveys to identify malnourished children in order to provide them with ampler support.

Lastly, we launch a heartfelt appeal to donors: initiate and continue to finance even more programs that aim to support children who suffer from malnutrition.

If you do not act on behalf of these children, many children will helplessly see their future fly away.

Malnutrition affects the health of a child profoundly throughout the child’s life. Investing in children is not a waste of funds; on the contrary, its profit is anticipated in the future.

Our latest articles about malnutrition:

Meet Maman Manga who fights against malnutrition every day or learn how we can acccelerate progress against child malnutrition.

Photo: UNICEF RDC 2014 Gwenn Dubourthoumieu.
Infographics : UNICEF RDC 2015 Natalia Rodriguez.

Translated from French by Ahou Koutchesfahani.

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Deo

Déo Deo a 17 ans, il est enfant reporter et finaliste au collège Kivuvu à Bandundu. Il a représenté les enfants de la RDC au Forum de l'espoir des enfants à Bujumbura en juin 2014. Il fut élu ambassadeur du Forum de l'espoir et a représenté les enfants de la Région des grands Lacs au sommet Spécial de la CIRGL sur l'emploi des jeunes. Pour lui, être enfant Reporter est une opportunité qui lui permet de plaider pour l'amélioration de la situation des enfants de sa communauté

Déo is 17 years old, he is a Young Reporter and a student in final year in KIVUVU High School in Bandundu. Deo has represented Congolese childre at the Forum of Hope in Bujumbura in 2014. He was elected as an Amabassador of Hope and represented children from the Great Lakes region at the Special ICGLR Summit on Youth Employment. For him, being a child reporter gives him an opportunity to advocate on improving the situation on children in his community.

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