How to combat malnutrition? Teach patients to garden and cook. This is what
Rwanda’s Rwinkwavu District Hospital is doing (with support from Partners
in Health). Dr. Fulgence Nkikabahizi, the hospital’s medical director,
explains that many patients have access to nutritious food, but they have
never been taught to balance the nutrients in the meals they serve
themselves and their children. Education is key. Thus, the hospital garden.
Across Rwanda, lifestyles and diets are changing quickly as the country
develops and people grow wealthier. As a result, Dr. Nkikabahizi says,
health is at a turning point. While infectious diseases are still a
problem, modern lifestyle conditions—diabetes, cancer—are also appearing.
In the past, malnutrition resulted from a lack of food. Today, malnutrition
in Rwanda can result from overeating—too much food, not enough balanced
nutrients. Dr. Nkikabahizi and team hope to change that.
– Karen Coates