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Polish Medical Mission in collaboration and through the mediation of St. Joseph’s Rural Health Centre in Chamilala, Nyimba District, has been carrying out a feeding programme in Zambia since September 2017. It will last for 6 months and its objective is to raise the level of nutrition among children under five years of age. On the part of the Centre, the project is being coordinated by a Polish nun, sis. Józefa Słaba.
The need of accomplishing the programme stems from the situation that is prevailing in the territory where staff of the medical centre treat patients. According to the centre’s reports, 60% of children under the age of five are undernourished. This leads to weakening and irregularities in the child’s development, and increases the risk of diseases related to food deficiency. Those receiving care at the centre suffer poverty so they are unable to satisfy their children’s needs in an adequate manner. However, employees at the centre have found a solution, which consists in teaching mothers how to prepare meals that make up balanced diet using locally available foodstuffs.
The recipients of the project will be parents and care takers, village chiefs, so-called neighbourhood committees and health workers in the community. Involvement of all these groups will allow to reach the largest possible number of mothers with the precious knowledge on how they can feed their children in a healthy way. Instruction to the mothers will include cooking shows that will help put to practice the feeding programme so that every child – irrespective of their family’s social status – should eat correctly. The cooking shows will also provide an opportunity to talk and inform about other important heath issues like using toilets, cleaning them, caring for the environment, drinking clean water or personal hygiene.
The originators of the project assume that its actions can help almost half a thousand children.
Ewa Piekarska visited the centre and found out about its needs in April this year during her trip to Africa. At the Zambian Chamilala Mission Hospital, sis. Józefa opened a so-called shelter for pregnant women. Women from remote areas can stay there for the final weeks of pregnancy until the time of delivery. At the mission site they grow moringa, which due to its nutritional properties has been recognised as ‘superfood’, and its powder is recommended there especially for undernourished people.