South Africa’s former First Lady Graca Machel has called for increased political will in the fight against malnutrition in Zambia.
About 40 percent of children under the age of five are stunted.
Mrs Machel said nutrition is a developmental issue and that as a result it must be at the centre of where development programmes are being planned.
Mrs Machel is visiting Zambia as Chairperson and Founder of the Graca Machel Foundation to check on progress on progress in women’s and girls’ education.
She said nutrition cannot be on one level of implementation, it must be at the top.
‘Nutrition is multi-sectoral hence it has to be at a level where there is power and authority to entrench Nutrition in all the sectors, such that ministers know that they are accountable to somebody,’ Mrs Machel said.
Mrs Machel was responding to the CSO-SUN’s Country Coordinator William Chilufya’s request of her bring to the attention of Zambia’s decision makers the importance of placement of a nutrition coordinating body, the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC).
Mrs Machel said in the case of Zambia, nutrition would be best placed at the Vice president’s office.
Mr Chilufya had observed that currently placed under the Ministry of Health (MoH) which he says does not ensure effective coordination.
He also asked Mrs Machel to help strengthen political will in Zambia by getting President Lungu much more involved in combating malnutrition in Zambia when she gets a chance to meet him.