Govt scales up national nutrition campaign

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Motsamai Mokotjo

LESOTHO is set to hold a national nutrition forum next Thursday to share information and chart the way forward in improving the country’s current status.

This was revealed in a joint press briefing by the ministries of Agriculture and Food Security, Health as well as Education and Training in Maseru yesterday. The high level forum would be attended by senior government officials and other stakeholders. These include, among others, parliamentarians, principal secretaries, district administrators, district council secretariat, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and development partners.

According to Agriculture and Food Security Deputy Minister ‘Mamosa Molapo, the forum, which would be held at Avani Maseru Hotel, is meant to brainstorm ways to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition.

“We want to come up with strategies to increase public awareness on the necessity of good nutrition,” she said.

“We want the public to be equipped with all the right facts to make informed nutritional decisions. Good nutrition helps in curbing stunting in children and people living with HIV/AIDS also need to eat wholesome food to remain healthy.”

Ms Molapo said King Letsie III, who was nominated as the first African Union nutrition champion in July 2013, would also attend the forum. The deputy minister said they also intended to hold a peace march ahead of the forum on Wednesday, although they are yet to get a permit from the police who would then demarcate the route they would use.

Education and Training Deputy Minister, Thabang Kholumo, chipped in saying there was need to increase the food availed to schoolchildren to avert the challenges of under-nutrition.

Said Mr Kholumo: “We have a long history of the School Feeding Programme. However, since the problem of malnutrition is persisting, we intend to give children two instead of the one meal they get at schools next year.

“We are also going to provide weight-measuring devices for every early childhood development and educational school in order to measure weight and height in relation to the children’s ages.”

On her part, Health Deputy Minister Liteboho Kompi emphasised the need for people to eat nutrient-rich foods to stave off unnecessary health complications.

“We intend to enact a policy and with regards to nutrition. It is our responsibility as government to see to it that the people are eating healthily,” she said, adding that they would also conduct countrywide campaigns to sensitive communities about the value of nutrition.

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