The National Food and Nutrition Commission says Zambia in the last five years has made progress in reducing malnutrition levels countrywide.
The Zambia Demographic Health Survey of 2018 to 2019 findings shows that stunting, wasting and underweight have improved.
NFNC Acting Executive Director, Musonda Mofu disclosed this today, during the official opening of a three day Scaling Up Nutrition National Conference being held virtually under the theme “Sustaining stunting reduction through creating an enabling environment for nutrition programmes”.
Mr Mofu revealed that stunting decreased from 40% to 35%, wasting from 6% to 4% whilst underweight children decreased from 15% to 12%.
“Zambia in the last five years made notable progress in reducing stunting. The latest Zambia demographic health survey key findings show that the three nutrition key performance indicators have improved,”Mofu said.
Mr Mofu stated that the development is a clear indication that measures the government and its partners were implementing to fight all forms of malnutrition are bearing fruit.
The nutrition expert however, called for the need to focus the fight against the scourge among the poor and rural households who are the majority by promoting food diversity.
“We need to intensify campaigns aimed at promoting breast feeding and appropriate complementary feeding,” Mr Mofu pointed out.
Mr Mofu further noted that malnutrition was a major contributor to high morbidity and mortality rates which contribute to nearly 3.1 million child deaths globally.
Mr Mofu reminded that climate change, Covid 19 and others have not spared the fight against malnutrition in the country.
“Interventions such as good rains and weather that the nutrition sensitive interventions depend on, have been threatened b climate change and other factors. Government will therefore continue putting more resources to address the challenges in relation to food security,” Mr Mofu said.
The official called for strengthening of multisectoral response and coordination as malnutrition was not only a Ministry of Health issue alone.
And Mr Mofu disclosed that the government with the support of cooperating partners is scaling up the First 1000 Most Critical Days Programme whose focus is to reduce stunting among children under two years of age to all districts in the country.
Mr Mofu said the 2021 SUN conference will help to improve the way of implementing the nutrition programme and share lessons on investments in nutrition.
He thanked the United States government through USAID and other cooperating partners for the financial support and technical aid rendered in the nutrition work in the country.
The conference has drawn 400 participants from within and outside Zambia who attending virtually.