TANZANIA Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC), wants over 90 per cent of children under five years old to get Vitamin A supplementation, with some district councils recording less than 50 per cent of children accessing such nutrients.
The Centre noted that it has secured funds to conduct campaign of providing Vitamin A supplements to children in 12 regions with low intake of the nutrients.
Executive Director of TFNC, Dr Germana Leyna, explained that the 12 regions will be chosen for the next campaign considering areas with low level of vitamin A nutrients.
The Centre conducts the Vitamin A supplementation campaign annually, in June and December of every year.
Vitamin A supplementation reduces child morbidity and mortality and is recommended for infants and children from 6 to 59 months.
He said Vitamin A supplements given to children will not cause any significant side effects when the recommended age-specific vitamin dose is administered.
She was briefing a team of information officers from institutions under the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children who were accompanied by journalists during a tour of TFNC offices in the city on Monday.
The group was on a campaign dubbed, ‘Tumeboresha Afya’, which intends to showcase improvements made in the health sector during the fifth phase government. “We want to see that this campaign is well conducted and excels and reaches a bigger percentage of children,” she said.
Elaborating on other plans, she said the centre also looks forward to incorporating more private sector players in advocating for nutrient supplements in industrial processed food such as cooking oil, maize floor and wheat flour.
The aim, he said, is to reduce the level of malnutrition among Tanzanians.
“We have engaged the members of the private sector because they are the ones who are big manufacturers of those food products,” she said, adding that this also goes hand in hand with the efforts to increase consumption of iodized salt by campaigning among industries producing salt.
However, TFNC mentioned that many small-scale manufacturers were still not considering adding element of iodine in salt.
This has compelled the centre to take measures, including identifying small producers countrywide and has educated them over the importance of adding the iodine.