Locadia Mavhudzi Midlands Correspondent
Government has introduced household vitamin and mineral supplements for children between six and 23 months in a move aimed improving child health.
Ministry of Health and Child Care nutritionist Mr Dexter Chagwena told delegates attending a provincial food fortification workshop in Gweru that the introduction of home fortification through micro nutrient powders is meant to improve vitamin and mineral deficiencies among children.
“We have rolled out a food and nutrition programme targeting households to use micro nutrient powders for children from six months to two years. This is a critical stage of development where children need balanced diet. Under this programme, small levels of vitamin and minerals would be added into porridge and the sachets will soon be made available in all health institutions,” he said.
Mr Chagwena said training is already underway for health officials to be able to administer the fortified supplements.
“We are training staff in clinics and hospitals across the country and here in Midlands we have covered Gweru and Zvishavane districts,” he said.
The food fortification concept is fairly new in Zimbabwe and is already being implemented by some food manufacturing industries in the productions of maize, cooking oil, wheat flour, salt and retail sugar.
“Government has muted a statutory instrument on food fortification and we already have some food items undergoing the fortification process. So far we are also raising awareness of food fortification through bio fortified seed varieties for farmers and industrial food fortification,” Mr Chagwena said.
According to the recent food and nutrition survey, Zimbabwe is currently experiencing 26 percent stunted growth among children under the age of five while 17 percent of children in the Midlands province have access to a balanced diet.