In Nyamasheke district, a dedicated week-long campaign unfolded, aiming to combat the troubling increase in child stunting among those under five years old. The community rallied to address this critical issue that has seen rates rise from 34% in 2015 to 37.7% in 2020, as reported by the Demographic Health Survey.
Director General of National Child Development Agency (NCDA) Ingabire Assoumpta stood as a beacon of hope, outlining essential strategies to reduce stunting during an interview. She emphasized the need for initiatives targeting nutrition, sanitation, and crucial vaccination activities. However, she voiced a pressing concern: many parents, engrossed in farming or business activities, struggle to invest sufficient time in caring for their children. Ingabire advocated for a sense of self-ownership and responsibility among parents.
Nyirangirimana Agnes, a resident of Nyamasheke, echoed Ingabire’s concerns. She highlighted the irresponsibility of some parents in caring for their children. Agnes mentioned that a lack of knowledge in preparing balanced diets, coupled with insufficient use of family planning, led to unwanted pregnancies, further exacerbating the issue.
Acting Mayor of Nyamasheke District Muhayeyezu Joseph Desire, joined the conversation, acknowledging the negligence of parents in dedicating enough time to their children’s well-being. He urged parents to take responsibility and actively participate in initiatives aimed at reducing stunting by up to 19% in the upcoming year.
Throughout the campaign week, the community engaged in various educational activities. Workshops and sessions were conducted to educate parents on the importance of balanced nutrition for children and the significance of proper sanitation practices. Vaccination drives were organized to ensure children received necessary immunizations, crucial for their health and development.
As the week goes on, a renewed sense of determination lingered in the air. Though obstacles persisted, the resolve to combat stunting has taken root. The community stood poised to overcome challenges, envisioning a future where every child in Nyamasheke could grow without the burden of stunting hindering their potential.