TANZANIA development partners met in Dar es Salaam yesterday to deliberate on, among other things, the impact of sanitation and hygiene on nutrition and reiterated their commitment to supporting one national campaign code-named, Nipo Tayari (literally translated, I’m Ready).
The sanitation campaign which is under the tutelage of the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children is aimed at sensitising and encouraging people, both in urban and rural areas to cultivate a culture of using improved toilets and observing thorough hand washing with soap thereafter.
Speaking at the event, The National Sanitation Campaign Coordinator, Mr Anyitike Mwakitalima, said: “Poor sanitation and lack of hygiene were the leading causes of stunting among children below the age of five, revealing that in Tanzania up to 34 per cent of children have stunted growth partly caused by inadequate access to improved toilets and failure to wash hands with soap at critical moments.
He said that a lack of proper nutrition also reduces a child’s resistance to subsequent infections leading to repeated bouts during early childhood, which negatively affects physical and cognitive development.
A demographic and health survey conducted over 2015-16 showed that Tanzania had recorded some improvements since 1992, when half of the children were stunted as compared to 34 per cent in 2015.
Recent research further indicates that loss of human potential due to stunting was associated with more that 20 per cent deficit in adult incomes and had implications for national development.
Access to improved sanitation in Tanzania is expected to hit its 75 percent mark in 2025, and at 100 percent in 2030, but these milestones would only be achieved if the government and its development partners continued working together to push the agenda for sanitation and hygiene forward.
Mwakitalima’s comments were shared by development partners represented at the event, including: Action Against Hunger, Aga Khan Foundation-Tanzania, Catholic Relief Services, Child Investment Fund Foundation, Department for International Development, Doctors with Africa CUAMM, Embassy of Switzerland, Feed the Children and Global Affairs Canada.
Others are Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Ifakara Health Institute, IMA World Health, Institute of International Programmes Johns Hopkins University, and International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Potato Center, United Nation Children Fund, UN World Food Program, and United States Agency for International Development, World Bank, World Health Organization and World Vision International.