27 Kilometers from Mwanza boma lies a trading centre called Thambani surrounded by communities who mostly rely on farming.
Passing through the hilly areas and dusty roads to get at the trading centre one appreciates the struggle people in the communities around Thambani face when accessing social services at the boma.
However, for many people at Thambani, they are happy their area receives good rains and they have fertile soils which help them grow different crops for their survival. No wonder Mwanza boma residents define Thambani as one of their reliable sources of food items.
One would wonder though how such fertile land where most people harvest bumper yields still has a large number of under 5 children malnourished. According to data provided by Thambani Health Centre in a month of May 2019 out of 3438 children targeted during the active case finding campaign in the area, 2863 were screened and 50 were found malnourished.
According to Nutrition focal person at Thambani Health Centre Mary Kadzenje most people in the area sell their harvests to Mozambique hence denying their children access to six food groups.
“The main challenge we have here is that people sell their produce a lot to the neighbouring Mozambique as such little do they consider providing diversified food to their children”, said Kadzenje.
One of the parents whose child is on Supplementary Food Program Grace Chigayo of Mtitima village in TA Govati in Mwaza says despite harvesting bumper yields, they still fail to feed their children six food groups.
“Our main interest is to sell the harvests so that we find money to buy clothes and other luxury items for our home. All we do for our children is to provide nsima to them and little do the parents consider buying diversified food for their children”, said Mtitima.
However, through the Unicef funded campaign being implemented by Story Workshop and the government of Malawi which aims to prevent and treat acute malnourished children among the flood affected population the number of children screened has increased and those malnourished are being referred in different programs.
According to Mwnza DHO’s nutritionist, Kondwani Chavula the campaign has helped their hospital to be able to screen children in the hard to reach areas and include them in the program.
“The initiative by Unicef to help us screen children and orient volunteers has increased number of children receiving treatment in an effort to save the children”, said Chavula.
He has however described the need for awareness initiatives to help the communities have limitations in selling their harvests so that the children are given six food groups.