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Namibia

Alcohol abuse and unemployment major contributors to malnutrition: Nganate

todayJanuary 18, 2024 2

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Omaheke Governor Pijoo Nganate has cited alcohol abuse and unemployment as some of the major contributors to the spike in malnutrition in the region.

Nganate during a press conference here on Wednesday said cases of malnutrition have increased. He said some of the factors contributing to malnutrition amongst children are parents who exchange food provided to them for alcohol, as well as child negligence by younger parents who leave their children in the care of elderly relatives without checking up on them.

“A very big issue is negligent parents and those who dump their children with elderly people. Of course some of these young people are looking for work, but others are out enjoying themselves,” he said.

Nganate further noted that malnutrition is a multi-faceted problem that needs everybody’s involvement, from the police and community to traditional leaders and health care workers. He added that the Liquor Act should be enforced.

“We have some shebeens running 24/7,” he said.

Nganate said his office is trying to mitigate malnutrition by providing food to individual households, as well as setting up soup kitchens around the region. He also indicated that they are working towards permanent solutions to alleviate the problem.

“A whole paradigm shift is needed, and we have looked at low hanging fruit that can be implemented with immediate effect, such as promoting milk collection points in the region. This is envisaged for the first quarter of 2024,” Nganate said.

A report availed to the governor by the Gobabis State Hospital indicated that 370 people, mostly children, were admitted to health care facilities due to malnutrition last year. Of this number, 68 people died – most of them children.

According to the report, outpatient initiatives such as food kitchens and community gardens have yielded mixed results. The report also highlighted how alcohol abuse has played a major role in food insecurity and created a burden on State institutions that have food programmes in place.

(NAMPA)
OK/AS
(NAMPA)

 

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