Hospitals in Congo concerned by growing child malnutrition

Dr. Marie Claire Manafundu (left) visits children in the Irambo neighborhood in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, where poor nutrition has become a problem, especially for children. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UMNS.
Dr. Marie Claire Manafundu (left) visits children in the Irambo neighborhood in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, where poor nutrition has become a problem, especially for children. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UMNS.

Poor nutrition is becoming a major problem in parts of the Congo due to the displacement of people following violence and natural disasters, according to Dr. Philippe Okonda Akasa, health operations coordinator with The United Methodist Church in East Congo.

“We have recorded these cases of poor nutrition in Kibombo, Tunda, Kasongo and Bukavu, where there are hundreds of poorly nourished children who have been registered in the Irambo health area in Bukavu since January 2018,” Okonda Akasa said, adding that the near-starvation conditions have led to the deaths of some children.

Dr. Damas Lushima of Irambo United Methodist Hospital said many of those suffering from poor nutrition lack financial resources and family support.

“The cause of poor nutrition for Bukavu is on the one hand caused by displacement of the population fleeing violence and who live today with host families, and on the other hand by the high cost of the life of the population living in the Irambo neighborhood, who are sometimes either orphaned or abandoned by the parents (for financial reasons).”

Dr. Marie Claire Manafundu, program officer of the Maternal and Child Health Program in Eastern Congo and wife of East Congo Area Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda, visited Irambo Hospital at the beginning of June. She reported finding poorly nourished children and urged for a quick intervention in order to avoid the worst. The church is seeking help from the United Methodist Committee on Relief and Global Ministries’ Global Health unit.

Lushima said he has registered four deaths since January in his health area. He added that he has been purchasing and distributing biscuits to children twice a week during postnatal consultations, but more funding support is needed. 

“We have already started the process of pleading with our partners and finally finding an answer to this problem of poor nutrition in our health areas in Eastern Congo,” Okonda Akasa said.

Kituka Lolonga is a communicator in the Kivu Conference. News media contact: Vicki Brown at (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.

 

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE

Latest News

Central Conferences
Women work in a rice field as part of a farming project in the Côte d’Ivoire Episcopal Area. The project is supported by UMCOR and encouraged by Bishop Benjamin Boni.  Photo courtesy Yves Dirabou.

Church in Côte d’Ivoire focuses on farming, food security

Bishop Benjamin Boni and Côte d’Ivoire Episcopal Area take holistic approach to agriculture involving women and youths.
Central Conferences
Jean Tshomba (center) hands food and other supplies to an internally displaced person from Bijombo, Congo, in front of New Jerusalem United Methodist Church in Uvira. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UMNS.

Church helps internally displaced people in Congo

Fleeing tribal conflicts, more than 2,500 refugees find shelter and hope, thanks to The United Methodist Church, UMCOR.
Central Conferences
Zimbabwe Area Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa, episcopal leader for the Zimbabwe East and Zimbabwe West conferences, joins hands with other Christians and political leaders at a national prayer breakfast and dialogue Feb. 7 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Photo by Tarui Emmanuel Maforo, UMNS.

Amid political unrest, Zimbabwe churches lead dialogue

United Methodist Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa calls for consensus building in the highly polarized nation.