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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid