A study conducted by the University of Botswana and UNICEF says Botswana is unlikely to meet the Millennium Development goal targets on reducing hunger and child mortality by 2015.
The study says although the impact of the implementation of the strategy to reduce child mortality is not yet documented, the 2007 based survey shows that the strategy will not meet the MGD target.
It says the Acceleration Child Survival and Development Strategy for the period 2010 -2015 was made as an effort to achieve the MDG.
The report says the intention of the strategy is to improve the coverage and quality of high impact interventions on the health and well being of children and women but the strategy has not been documented.
Government in collaboration with UNICEF and other development partners has developed and is in the process of implementing evidenced based Acceleration Child survival and Development (ACSD) strategic plan.
The report says over the 11 year period from 1996 to 2007 the prevalence of underweight had been reduced by 4 percent four percent 17percent and over the same period, child mortality increased from 45 percent thousands lives birth to 76 percent in 2007.
┬áThe report further reveals that adequate child nutrition plays an important role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) 4 which focuses on reducing child malnutrition and MDG 5 for reducing child mortality by two-thirds between 1992 and 2015, so lack of its implementation will hinder achieving it, says the report.
With regard to child nutrition on MDGs the government then focuses on Vitamin A and Tsabana (a locally produced food supplement) amongst the cost-effective nutrition interventions that can be used to improve the nutrition situation of children 6-59 months in Botswana.
The report indicates that the high cost of vitamin A rich foods has led to the introduction of universal vitamin A supplementation across the developing world, especially in Asia and Africa as way of curbing vitamin A deficiency.
Ensuring that vitamin A supplementation programs reach the target population remains one of the bottlenecks that need to be overcome, said the report.
The report says in Botswana, a food supplement known as Tsabana was introduced to address the problem of under nutrition in children 6-36 months old.
“Tsabana faces the same challenges as Vitamin A supplement program in terms of reaching the targets population and its utilization or coverage.”
The study findings show that 42.9 percent of children did not receive Tsabana either because they were not eligible or missed the ratio. The food product was observed in 31.9 percent of the household visited. The coverage of Tsabana was associated with the age of principle a caregiver, wealth score, and the level of Urbanization.
“Children from the older caregiver, poor and rural households were more likely to receive Tsabana,” said the report.
Some 77 percent of children from the richest households said they received Tsabana while 93 percent in the poorest household accessed Tsabana.
Although the socio economic factors were considered, areas that were highly ranking, the level of urbanization such as towns and cities recorded the lowest coverage of Tsabana 79 percent while the rural areas experience the highest of 94 percent.
The report, titled ‘Thari Ya Bana publication 2012, Reflections on children in Botswana 2012′, made some recommendations and says it was encouraging to note that the girl and boy child benefit from the supplementary foods but in order to enhance equality of access to the program public health education campaigns and regular monitoring targeting the rural remote areas should be intensified.