CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
ABOUT 29 percent women of childbearing age in Zambia are anaemic and risk giving birth to children with defects such as cerebral palsy and hydrophyllis, a nutritionist from the University Teaching Hospitals (UTH) has said.
Wilbroad Zimba, a nutritionist under the women and new-born hospital nutrition unit at UTH, said anaemic women who conceive have higher chances of giving birth to children with physical defects.
Mr Zimba said this on Saturday during the just-ended 91st agricultural and commercial show where the UTH displayed various services offered at its five hospitals.
“According to the 2013/2014 Zambia demographic and health survey, 29 percent women of childbearing age have anaemia, the World Health Organisation statistics show that 23 percent women of childbearing age are anaemic,” Mr Zimba told show goers who toured the UTH’s women and new-born hospital nutrition unit stand.
He urged women to see a nutritionist at least three months before conception to get health information aimed at preventing anaemia in pregnancy.
Mr Zimba said anaemic women also risk having a miscarriage.
“Being anaemic in pregnancy is not just a danger to an unborn child but even the woman herself,” he said.
Mr Zimba said women should always eat a balanced and healthy meal especially before conception because their health has short and long term effects on the health and growth of their unborn child.
“Both women and their spouses need to eat healthy and unmodified foods.
“Eating this chicken and chips and other foods with colorants and preservatives is not good for the health of the consumer and that of their future generation,” Mr Zimba said.
He said the creation of the women and new-born hospital nutrition unit, which is about a year ago, provides specialised attention to women and children in a bid to promote a healthy Zambia.