By Olimatou Coker
Stakeholders have released results of the Gambia’s micronutrient survey report coordinated by the National Nutrition Agency.
The government of The Gambia with technical and financial support for UN Agencies including Unicef, WFP, FAO and the World Bank conducted the survey from February to April 2018, according to officials.
The objective is to obtain updated and reliable information on the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases in children 0-59 months of age, and pregnant women in The Gambia.
The result of the survey will enable stakeholders to formulate evidence-based interventions to improve the nutritional status of these vulnerable groups.
“Key nutrition indicators assessed included the prevalence of anemia and malaria parasitemia in children, non-pregnant women; deficiencies of iron and vitamin A in children and non-pregnant women; prevalence of diabetes in non-pregnant women; prevalence of hypertension and iodine status in non-pregnant and pregnant women; childhood wasting, stunting and under nutrition; under nutrition in non-pregnant and pregnant women; child and adult overweigh and obesity,” the report states.
It called for greater efforts to reduce under-nutrition, anemia and iron deficiency in children and women.
“While vitamin A deficiency affects almost 20% of children in The Gambia, the severity of this deficiency is significantly higher in some LGAs. To address this severe public health problem, multiple approaches should be used.”
It also suggest ways to reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity in women, as “nearly one-third of non-pregnant women were classified as either overweight or obese, with the highest proportion in urban area and among women resident in wealthier households”.
A Unicef representative said the survey report required a regular interval to inform policy development for government. She said this will help the regulation of private sector and development partners especially for nutrition.
“This existing policy provide guidance in planning, and stabilising appropriate and relevant intervention to address health challenges,” she stated.