CSONA worry of issues of hidden hunger

Lilongwe: The Civil Society Network Nutrition Alliance in Malawi (CSONA) Programs Manager, Bessie Ndovi says Malawi needs to do more in addressing issues of hidden hunger before they take toll.

Hidden hunger is the scenario where the body or people lack micronutrients due to lack of vitamins and nutrients in the food they eat and usually this hidden hunger does not have visible signs.

This comes against the background that there is an emerging problem of zinc deficiency amongst many Malawians especially men, currently pegged at 60 percent, according to the 2016 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey.

She made the remarks Thursday in Mponela after a media refresher training organized by CSONA to equip journalists with skills on nutrition reporting saying the issue could be a ticking time bomb for people who have hidden hunger.

Malawi is doing better in addressing issues of nutrition as undernutrition has dropped to 11 percent while vitamin A deficiency is now at 4 percent.

But there is need to address the issue of hidden hunger especially with the emerging case of zinc deficiency among Malawians before the issue starts presenting complications, she said.

She however, pointed out that Malawi has not yet recorded any adverse side effects of zinc deficiency among its population but studies are underway to establish what could happen to someone who is deficiency in the zinc mineral.

Ndovi said the issue can be attributed to the soils in Malawi which she said do not have enough zinc and iodine.

This, she said requires the same attention rendered to the problem of iodine deficiency which hit Malawi in the 1990s.

Back then, government intervened in the iodine deficiency by introducing iodized salt which saw a tremendous decrease in iodine deficiency. So we are hoping that government will find a solution to reduce the new problem of zinc deficiency.

As civil society, we are also collaborating with our 130 members in the network to ensure that we support government in eradicating this new zinc deficiency, fast, she said.

She subsequently commended government for the efforts being put in place to address the issue of nutrition in Malawi, like increasing the budget allocation to nutrition from 0.3 percent last year to 0.9 percent this year.

However, this is not enough. We need government to increase resource allocation to nutrition so that the momentum we have now is not lost, she said.

The Programs Manager said CSONA is taking its activities to another level as it embarks on nutrition awareness campaigns to educate the masses on issues of nutrition.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA