30 Oct 2013 19:50pm
WINDHOEK, 30 OCT (NAMPA) Only three babies have died as a result of malnutrition from July to September 2013 in Grootfontein and not 30 as reported in a local daily newspaper, the Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi said on Wednesday.
Kamwi made the remarks in Parliament, saying he was concerned because the deaths at the Grootfontein State Hospital were never reported to his office.
I then informed Prime Minister Hage Geingob that I had to leave for Grootfontein to get to the bottom of the allegations on the loss of lives due to hunger, he explained.
On his arrival, the minister said, he immediately demanded for statistics of the Grootfontein District Hospital´s Peadiatric Ward, starting from the month of July to September 2013.
The breakdown is as follows: The total number of all admissions between July and September 2013 are 126.
The month of July recorded 38 cases, August 40, and September 48.
The total number of malnutrition cases admitted in July is 11, August six and September eight, bringing the total to 25 cases.
The total number of mortalities for all illnesses in July were two, August two and September three, bringing the total to seven.
On the total mortalities due to malnutrition, Kamwi said July recorded one, August zero, and September two, bringing the total to three deaths.
Given this background, the minister called on the daily newspaper who published the article to inform the nation the source of their data, as he found the story to be misleading, disturbing, scary and devoid of any factual truth.
Malnutrition predominantly affects children between the ages of six months and five years, and is caused when there is insufficient carbohydrates, proteins, fat in the diet and chronic illnesses, Kamwi explained.
Other major contributory factors include, poverty, low level of education, early cessation of breastfeeding, migration, increase in teenage pregnancy, HIV, alcohol abuse, and lack of arable land to grow food.
The minister said Namibia has been experiencing a worrisome increase in the number of children suffering from malnutrition in recent years.
He said although the current drought in the country has merely aggravated the situation, the Health Ministry has not declared any death as a result of drought in the country, however, malnutrition is prevalent.