Vice President Inonge Wina has called for a multi-sectoral approach to addressing the high levels of malnutrition in Zambia.
Mrs Wina said Zambia’s nutrition status is by almost all measures still in a dire state.
She noted that it her duty to connect what all sectors of the government can do to improve food and nutrition security of the Zambians.
Mrs Wina said this on Tuesday during the launch of the Global Nutrition Report in Lusaka.
The launch was organised by the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Civil for Society for Scaling up Nutrition (CSO-SUN) Alliance.
‘We can argue about differences in methodologies but the fact remains the same Zambia’s nutrition is worrying. The 2013/2014 Zambia demographic and health survey data show that 40 percent of children under age 5 were considered to be stunted. This is a reduction from the 2007 figure of 46 percent but is still high,’ she said.
Zambia aims to reduce stunting by 23% by the year 2023.
The Vice President said that the PF Government is concerned about the problem of malnutrition hence it is putting up measure to address the problem of malnutrition in Zambia
‘Government has established a cabinet steering committee on nutrition which is meeting regularly to agree on service delivery channels and track progress against targets. We would also like to revitalize the community welfare centres, as focal points for mothers and young children, to access a range of social welfare and nutrition service,’ Mrs Wina said.
She said Government is also revising the National Food and Nutrition Commission Act and strengthening accountability of the national food and nutrition commission (NFNC) to adequately coordinate across key sectors.
‘I am happy to let you all know that a decision was made at the 23rd Cabinet meeting held on 19th October 2015 to approve the introduction of a bill in parliament to amend the current NFNC no. 308 of 1967,’ she said.
The launch was also attended by Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda, his Deputy Minister and two permanent secretaries.
Speaking earlier, Mr Lubinda said that it was embarrassing that Zambia has such higher levels of malnutrition and that it is time to ensure effective diversification of Agriculture for the production of diverse foods.
And in his presentation of the highlights of the Global Nutrition 2015 CSO-SUN Country Coordinator William Chilufya urged the Government and all stakeholders to elevate nutrition across the 7th National Development Plan that Zambia is developing.
He also appealed to the Government to strengthen ability of the NFNC to fulfil its mandate.
‘We need to enhance the NFNC’s ability to coordinate the national nutrition agenda. This includes changing the placement of the NFNC within the Government structure, so that it has the authority to call all stakeholders to the table and hold them accountable to their responsibilities and commitments’ Mr Chilufya said.
He appealed to the Government to ensure that at the next nutrition for growth summit in Brazil, Zambia makes smarter commitments and above all implement them.