ONGWEDIVA – A child from one of the hardest drought-hit communities at Amarika in Otamanzi Constituency in Omusati Region is reported to have died as a result of malnutrition at the end of last month, the Director of Health and Social Services in Omusati, Alfons Amoomo, has confirmed.
However, Amoomo dismissed claims a second child had died from malnutrition over the weekend, saying that the cause of the recent death has not been established.
“A post-mortem is yet to be conducted to determine the cause of death,” said Amoomo.
According to the Councillor of Otamanzi Constituency Johannes Iyambo, about six children from the same village are alleged to have been diagnosed with malnutrition during recent months.
Following the reports of malnutrition, the children were provided with drought relief food as part of the treatment.
New Era has established that the food is finished and the constituency last received its drought relief consignment in July.
“After we received the report we visited the clinic – we visited their homes and they were provided with food. We also gave them food in excess which was stored at the school for their parents to collect once they finished the first consignment,” said Iyambo.
Iyambo said the constituency however did not receive any drought relief food since August.
“Our last consignment of food was in July,” said Iyambo.
Iyambo said the situation at Amarika is dire because the area did not receive sufficient rain for two consecutive years.
“Last year not many people were able to harvest anything,” said Iyambo. This year there has been no harvest thus there is barely anything to eat. “People here are really in need of food and I have been receiving calls from people crying because they have nothing to eat,” said Iyambo.
The director of health said malnutrition is not necessarily caused by the lack of food alone.
He said sometimes it is caused by certain feeding patterns being practiced.
“In some instances people leave children with the elderly who end up feeding them with snacks only and as result the children do not get the required nutritional food,” said Amoomo.