Key role of Caritas Congo Asbl in the fight against malnutrition

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Child having recovered from malnutrition after treatment at Kingandu hospital, Kikwit diocese.

The Nutrition Programme of Caritas Congo Asbl in the Democratic Republic of Congo was launched in 2011. The effectiveness of the deployment of activities in this programme has, to date, given to Caritas Congo Asbl the flattering dimension of being an important and unavoidable partner in the fight against malnutrition. Caritas Congo Asbl has already executed five projects with different funding sources. All these projects have fought malnutrition in its acute and chronic forms.

It is interesting to note that through these projects, many lives have been saved and this is comforting since they were essentially preventive projects. The main actions were to counter upstream malnutrition by promoting Infant and Young Child Feeding and other Essential Family Practices. These are common, simple and cheap practices, but neglecting such practices causes incalculable consequences for children’s lives.

Thus, a good proportion of mothers became aware that malnutrition is one of the deadly diseases that affect the vulnerable population, namely children under 59 months. They had their capacities strengthened on the merits of optimal breastfeeding.

Mothers have adopted new behaviour and have managed to get rid of old habits and traditions relating to infants and young children. They have also begun to put into practice exclusive breastfeeding of the newborn in the first hour after birth and adequate complementary feeding in order to ensure the development of infants.

The results have been most encouraging with high percentages of undernourished children being cured. Caritas Congo Asbl wishes to go ahead with these projects. Dr. Amedée Yambi, head of the Nutrition Programme, believes that Caritas Congo Asbl should intervene in malnutrition with a complete package of activities including WASH , food security and nutrition.

It would be necessary to implement projects up to 5 years in order to measure their impact in the community. The mortality rate among Children under 5 years in DRC is still high. Malnutrition is responsible for 45% mortality in young children. The most affected provinces are the former Bas-Congo, the former Province Orientale, North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema, the former Katanga, Kasai Occidental the former and the former Kasai Oriental.