News / Health

Attempts Under Way in Burkina Faso to Improve Child Nutrition

FILE - Children get ready to enter a class room in Yakouta, Burkina Faso.FILE - Children get ready to enter a class room in Yakouta, Burkina Faso.
x
FILE - Children get ready to enter a class room in Yakouta, Burkina Faso.
FILE - Children get ready to enter a class room in Yakouta, Burkina Faso.
Jennifer Lazuta
A third of children under the age of five in Burkina Faso are chronically malnourished, something that the Ministry of Health says is not always due to lack of food, but a lack of the right foods.  Now, in the village of Bougounam, in the northern part of the country, a group of women from one village have started training women how to better cook foods to retain nutrients and plan meals to ensure balanced nutrition.

Thirty-four-year-old Salimata Sana squats beside a small fire in her courtyard in northern Burkina Faso, stirring a pot of enriched porridge.

A small group of women looks on, nodding and asking occasional questions.

Sana explains to the women that “regular millet porridge doesn't give children health and strength like this enriched porridge does.”  She says she has added ground peanuts for protein and fat, and ground-up leaves from local moringa trees, which are packed with calcium and vitamins.  She adds a bit of milk, oil and sugar for taste.

She tells the women they should start giving this enriched porridge to their children at six months old.

A local aid agency trained Sana and dozens of other women in Zondoma Province on how to feed their kids in the most nutritious way possible.  Enriched porridge is just one tactic Sana learned.

She now tells women in surrounding villages not to over-cook vegetables.  Boiling them for longer than 5 or 10 minutes takes away nutrients.  She tells women that kids need a variety of fruits and vegetables, and that kids need more than a plate of white rice. 

Back in the capital, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health says good nutrition is about both quantity and quality of food.

The head of the Ministry’s Nutrition Department, Betrine Ouaro, says “Foods need to be rich. Our grains are good, but you need to complement them with proteins, fruits and other vitamin-rich foods.”  She says “it’s not enough to give a young child millet porridge and think they have a balanced diet.”

Ouaro said that mothers will often say their children are well-fed because they don’t feel hungry. But having a full stomach doesn’t mean you  are well nourished.

The World Food Program (WFP) reports that 88 percent of children under the age of five in Burkina Faso suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.  Micronutrients are things like iron, iodine and zinc.  They are important for kids because they help their brains and bodies grow.

The Ministry of Health says that while 10 percent of children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, nearly a quarter are underweight for their age.

One reason is poverty.  The World Bank says almost half of people in Burkina Faso live below the national poverty line.  Foods like fruit and meat can be particularly expensive.

Back in the village, Sana says mothers want to feed their children the best possible food.

But she says “it can be hard sometimes to pay for bananas and tomatoes or other produce.” She says “many fruits and vegetables are only available in the city, not in the villages.  Many families can’t afford to eat more than millet every day.  It’s just too expensive.”

Sana says that is why recipes like the enriched porridge are so important.  The peanuts are grown locally and women can go out and gather the tree leaves for free.  But she says the difference these kinds of added ingredients make for a growing child is dramatic.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs