‘ Overweight, obesity: A major concern for health in  Tanzania’

08May 2019
Polycarp Machira
DODOMA
The Guardian
‘ Overweight, obesity: A major concern for health in  Tanzania’

MORE than ten per cent of Tanzanians are suffering from obesity, causing fear among health authorities, the deputy minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, Faustine Ndugulile told the House yesterday.

deputy minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, Faustine Ndugulile.

He noted that with the prevalence of non communicable disease (NCDs) increasing at an alarming rate in the country, obesity is one of the major health concerns among locals that pose serious challenges.

According to the minister, obesity prevalence had shown to be higher among urban men and women compared to their rural counterparts. “While talking of challenges of nutrition in the country we cannot forget to note that there is raising cases of obesity,” he told the lawmakers.

The deputy minister was responding to a supplementary question by Special Seats MP, Zainabu Mwamwindi (CCM) who had argued that there is need to empower nutrition officers at ward  levels since there  are growing malnutrition cases in the country.

“Malnutrition is a big problem among children in the country, what is the government doing to improve the situation including empowering nutrition officers at ward levels?” she asked.

Ndugulile said the government has started implementing the World Health Assembly plan to eradicate malnutrition by 2025 as well as other international treaties on the same.

He said one of the national strategies include the National Multi-sectoral Nutrition Action Plan NMNAP 2016/17-2021/22 which has six priority areas.

He said the NMNAP has identified key results areas  such as scaling-up maternal, infant, young child and adolescent nutrition, scaling up prevention and control of micronutrient deficiencies.

Others include scaling up integrated management of acute malnutrition, scaling up prevention and management of diet related non-communicable diseases, integration of multi-sectoral nutrition sensitive interventions and improving nutrition governance.

He added that the government established the department for nutrition workers under his ministry in 2012 whereby a total 114 workers had been employed at different district councils in the country.

The deputy minister also noted that ministry of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, is also working on the plans to employ two nutrition officers in every village throughout the country.