Nyamagabe: With a fund from Government of more than Rwf 1.2 billion for this year, stunting is being reduced

Nyamagabe vice-Maire in charge of social affairs, Prisca Mujawamariya feeding children 

Kibirizi (Nyamagabe): Espérance Niyonsaba lives in the village of Gasharu, Gishiha cell, Kibirizi sector, Nyamagabe district. She is the grandmother of a child who suffered from stunting. The child received a fortified diet for three months, which cured him.

“My daughter had gone to Kigali. She came back pregnant. Then she gave birth. But my vulnerable household conditions did not allow me to have sufficient and complete food to feed the child. During a check-up in the village, the child was tested for stunting (in the red). His mother had returned toKigali. I had to be trained to learn how to prepare rich foods for a malnourished child. I gave him fortified porridge, small fish and soy flour, vegetables and fruits, sorghum leg, potatoes. The neighbors gave me milk and eggs to supplement the diet. After three months, my grandchild was repaired. I respect the diet indicated so that his health always improves “, testifies the grandmother Niyonsaba.

She points out that once a month their children under five are tested to assess their nutritional status, measure height, arm circumference and weight.

The women of Gasharu, whose children have emerged from stunting, have come together in an association called “Igisubizo” or “Response”. They created various income-generating activities: weaving knits, manufacturing and dyeing fabrics. They save and contact loans from the “Igisubizo” association.

Séraphine Nyirankundwa is the spokesperson for the group and welcomes the progress made in improving the living conditions of the 25 members of the Association.

“Our account shows 54,000 Rwf in savings. We pay the mutual health insurance on time thanks to our savings. The credit in circulation among members reached 389 thousand Rwf. You can save from 100 to 500 Frw per week. The member who wants a loan can go up to 50% of what he has saved. Our group has been created since one year and it is very dynamic” she says.

For her personal progress, Nyirankundwa, recalls that she has already taken out a loan of Frw 190,000 with her group. Her husband added more money, and the household bought a cow which will give birth soon. Its current value is around 350,000 Rwf.

“Each household in Gasharu village has set up a vegetable garden with different kinds of vegetables to fight against malnutrition. No child is currently under the category of malnourished children,”said the spokesperson for Igisubizo.

A few hundred meters from the site where the Igisubizo group exhibited its achievements which include agricultural products to fight against malnutrition, the chief health adviser, Daniel Rudahindagara, shows the model of a vegetable garden that each household in the country reproduces in his home.

“The idea of setting up this vegetable garden results from our commitment to fight against malnutrition in our village. To develop a vegetable garden, we use bags, boards, stems, organic manure and soil. We teach that such a garden incorporates at least five kinds of vegetables: dodo vegetables, carrots, beets, leeks, peppers, cabbage. We have fruits like Japanese plums, passion fruit. We have been trained by various projects including World Relief. Groups of young volunteers sometimes help the inhabitants to create these vegetable gardens which reach 110 in the village. Currently, our village has no cases of malnutrition. But previously we had three cases. Adult men and husbands participate in the creation of vegetable gardens. It is earthwork requiring a physical strength that is not up to the level of women, ”notes Rudahindagara.

“The District of Nyamagabe has reduced stunting from 51.8% to 36% in five years”, according to the Vice-Mayor of Social Affairs, Ms. Prisca Mujawamariya.

With a state fund of more than RWF 1.2 billion for this year and with the support of various partners engaged in strengthening nutrition, the District of Nyamagabe has been able to reduce stunting by 51,8% in five years, to 36% ”, according to the Vice-Mayor of Social Affairs, Prisca Mujawamariya.

“Here in Nyamagabe District for five years, we have been fighting malnutrition and stunting in young children. I would say that these days the results are interesting, because of when I started working here we had about one in two children under the age of five who had stunting, and the average in Nyamagabe District was by 51.8%. In a study conducted in 2018, this stunting had been reduced to 42.8% as a result of the measures put in place. We have pursued many strategies aimed at caring for children and even adults at risk of stunting. These are now also being processed, ”she announced.

In this year 2021, in February and March, in collaboration with the Early Childhood Development Agency (NCDA) and the Ministry of Health, the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) conducted a village survey for all children under five, especially those under two, as they are the most targeted. The results also show that here in Nyamagabe district, the incidence rate is 11.6% for children under two years old.

“We have a lot of programs that prevent children under the age of two from being stunted. We have 63 malnourished children in Nyamagabe District: 60 children who are in the yellow and 3 others in the red (stunting), but those in the red are children who have been malnourished due to other chronic diseases and other infirmities. The issue of malnutrition is a priority in our agenda and our health advisers are working to eradicate it. Nyamagabe District is 36.5% in this fight. At the national level, the country is at 33% ”, notes Mujawamariya.

National programs have made an important contribution in the fight against malnutrition

Also according to the Vice-Mayor in charge of Social Affairs, the development of vegetable gardens to provide vegetables and training for mothers in the preparation of a complete diet have been of great support in combating malnutrition. Partners from civil society and religious associations closely worked with the health sector at the village level. They have produced solid and tangible results which have reduced malnutrition.

A survey is carried out in each village every month to monitor the strategies in force and detect possible cases of the resurgence of malnutrition. Children and people identified below good health standards are sent to health centers for treatment against stunting.

“We now have model vegetable gardens to train parents to prepare a rich and complete diet in kitchens organized at the village level. The vegetables are cultivated at home by parents who have obtained plants from the reference vegetable gardens set up on selected sites in the village. This program has benefited from the support of the partner World Relief “, continues the Vice-Mayor of Social Affairs.

During the dry season, vegetable gardens are reduced for lack of water on the high hills characteristic of mountainous areas such as Nyamagabe. The few vegetables that can be produced are then cultivated in the swamps. This is why the people of Kibirizi are asking the authorities to speed up the water supply program so that the vegetable gardens on the hills can be irrigated.

Nyamagabe District has 1130 ECDs

Asked about the number of ECD in each village of the District of Nyamagabe, Vice-Mayor Mujawamariya said that Nyamagabe has three ECDs per village, or 1130 ECDs throughout the District. She specifies that ECDs are increasing.

“ECDs work with the programs of NCDA, SPRP, EAR Church and Caritas Rwanda for feeding children attending ECDs. These institutions provide porridge, milk, fortified biscuits to children and pregnant or feeding mothers of the first and second categories of Ubudehe, commonly referred to as the vulnerable categories. Each household transformed into an ECD receives 200 million Rwf to improve sanitary conditions and acquire essential equipments for the children of the host villages ”, informs Vice-Mayor Mujawamariya.

In addition to the support of various other partners, the District of Nyamagabe received during the year 2020-2021 a budget of over 1.2 billion Rwf to fight against malnutrition and stunting.

Statistics from the recent household life survey in Nyamagabe District show that the population living in extreme poverty is 17.7%, or 16,146 inhabitants.

While the population living below the poverty line, with $ 1 per day, is 48.6%, or half of the 91 thousand households in Nyamagabe district.

Regarding funding against malnutrition in the district, Vice-Mayor Mujawamariya gives the figures:

“A total of 43 million Rwf is provided to donate milk to ECDs. The Stunting Prevention Project (SPRP) provides more than RWF 86 million. Support for the purchase of small livestock (chickens, pigs, goats) to vulnerable malnourished households is over Rwf 169 million. The budget for the Girinka Program reaches more than Rwf 144 million. Funding for children of 1st and 2nd categories of Ubudehe and pregnant mothers all of the vulnerable category (NSDS) comes to more than RWF 677 million. This makes a total amount of 1,120,855,771 Rwf devoted to the fight against malnutrition and stunting ”. (End)