Friday, February 23, 2018
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Some families are reselling a corn flour food supplement provided by the Health Ministry for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers because they don’t like the taste.

Head of the nutrition program at Comoro Health Center Ana Manuela Ximenes Monteiro said food supplements were intended for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers who were in poor health.

Supplement such as corn flour and peanuts are being supplied by the UN World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF.

Head of the nutrition program at Comoro Health Center Ana Manuela Ximenes Monteiro said food supplements were intended for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers who were in poor health.

“I am so disappointed because the state spends a lot of money to produce this food and distribute it to them, especially for feeding the children, but they sell it. I am sad to see that,” she said.

She said some families were reselling the corn flour because they lacked knowledge about its nutritional value and did not like the taste.

Although staff at health facilities explained to families about the nutritional value of food supplements and how to prepare it, she said they often failed to follow instructions.

She said those families identified as reselling corn flour would no longer be eligible to receive food supplements.

Children between the ages of six months and five years who have a mid-upper arm circumference less than 11.5cm are categorized as severely malnourished and for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers the marker is under 23cm.

Besides, she also concerned that some families who are eligible to receive food supplements had not gone to their local health facility to collect the corn flour.

According to the guidelines, a person should receive supplements four times per month for a period of four months.

The General Director of the ministry’s Health Achievement Service, Odete Viegas, said the program was important and should be continued.

However, she also acknowledged that many families still did not have a deep awareness about nutrition and the function of food supplements.

“The Health Ministry has recruited more professionals to raise awareness and educate communities about preparing healthy and nutritious food for the family,” she said.

The ministry has also started a campaign to highlight the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life, starting from pregnancy until the baby reaches two years of age.

The health sector considers those first 1000 days as a critical period for children’s intellectual and physical development and therefore it was important for mothers to have a good understanding of what they need to consume during this period.

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