CPA: Can you give us an overview of the malnutrition situation in the DRC?
Director of PRONANUT (National Nutrition Program), Dr Bruno Bindamba: According to the 2018-2019 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the prevalence of chronic malnutrition or stunting was 42% among children under 5 years of age. That’s roughly 9 million children now.
The prevalence rate of global acute malnutrition, i.e. including severe and moderate malnutrition, was 11.5%. This represents about 3 million children.
Currently, with the demography, we have more or less 12 million children affected by the problem of malnutrition in the DRC.
CPA: Which provinces are most affected and what are the causes?
PRONANUT Director: The provinces most affected by malnutrition are Kasai, Central Kasai, Kwango, Tshuapa and South Kivu. For the two Kasai provinces, this situation is due to insecurity and population displacement.
As for Kwango, it is due to the problem of land that is not fertile and poor nutrition of the population.
CPA: What are the government, through PRONANUT, and its partners doing to reduce malnutrition, which is a public health problem in DRC?
PRONANUT Director: The government has mobilised more than US$562 million to support PRONANUT to eradicate chronic malnutrition in the provinces of Kasai, Central Kasai, Kwilu and South Kivu.
The government has provided PRONANUT with funds to support other provinces and administrative staff.
Today, with the epidemiological transition, in big cities like Kinshasa, there is more malnutrition due to excesses, including obesity. It affects pregnant women and children more. This is due to poor nutrition.
To act against malnutrition, it is necessary to work with other sectors, including agriculture, fisheries and livestock, social affairs, social welfare, planning, the budget and foreign trade, because investing in the fight against malnutrition is investing in development.
To prevent malnutrition in the country, the National Nutrition Program raises awareness of good nutrition. It provides vitamin A supplements and the necessary inputs for food security.
This year, PRONANUT plans to develop a new multisectoral strategic plan for 2023-2030 and to organize a national forum to mobilize all partners involved in this fight.
PRONANUT is a specialized program of the Ministry in charge of Health, Hygiene and Prevention. Its mission is to coordinate the implementation of the national policy to combat malnutrition in the country in order to provide both health and psycho-social care for the population