Saturday, June 22, 2024

Proportion of stunted children in Zambia high with Luapula taking the lead

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Zambia is among 36 countries with more than 20% stunting.Stunting affects health, physical and cognitive development capacity as well as productivity in adulthood.It has been estimated that current levels of child stunting of 45% if unchanged in Zambia, will cost the country S$775m in productivity over a ten year period.

There are various interventions that have been initiated to scale up nutrition levels in order to avoid stuntedness by targeting in both pregnant and breastfeeding women.

One such programme is the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) supported by six different partners and these are the UK Aid, Irish Aid, CARE, Sweden, Concern worldwide and Good Nutrition for a Better Zambia (NAZ)) with financial and technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and is being implemented in different parts of Zambia.The main focus being on the First 1000 most critical days of the child’s life.

Luapula province is one of the beneficiaries of this programme because of its stuntedness rate in growth standing at 56% and at national level standing at 45%.

Out of the fourteen districts selected country wide, Samfya is one of the districts benefiting from the programme, where nine agricultural camps (six council wards and 11 health facilities found in these agricultural camps) were selected to run this programme.

A survey was carried out by a team that comprised of staff from Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Livestock and Community Development, Mother and Child Health.

The assessment showed that most mothers do not breastfeed their children exclusively for the first six months, half of the children are given water with salt during their first month of life, others are given food in addition to breast-milk from about three months onwards and when a child reaches six months breast-milk is inadequate.

The assessment showed that most mothers do not breastfeed their children exclusively for the first six months, half of the children are given water with salt during their first month of life, others are given food in addition to breast-milk from about three months onwards and when a child reaches six months breast-milk is inadequate.

The programme aims to reduce stuntedness caused by poor feeding programme for pregnant and breast feeding women and children of up to two years.

It has been discovered that the first 1,000 days in the life of a child are very critical in his growth thus, the call to bridge the gap by giving children improved complementary foods.

Lactating mothers and pregnant women need good nutrition to enable the born and unborn child develop and grow healthy.

A typical balanced diet, needs to comprise of energy (from nshima either cassava or maize meal), proteins (from fish, meat, beans, eggs), vitamins (fruits and vegetables) and minerals (iron, zinc, calcium) from small fish eaten whole, cowpea leaves, amaranthus and cassava leaves among others.

It was found that people think local foods are not high food value and are therefore not the best but rather packaged foods from supermarkets are perceived to be the best.Soft drinks and chips are considered treats.

With the proliferation of fast food outlets,there is a danger of Zambians consuming more unhealthy foods in place of health local foods.

Meanwhile Kawambwa District Commissioner Ivor Mpasa has appealed to the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) to introduce the 1st 1000 Most Critical Days Programme to Kawambwa.

Speaking when he officially opened a three day monitoring and evaluation workshop for Samfya District Nutrition Coordinating Committee members, Mr Mpasa said there is need for the NFNC to consider Kawambwa District when they decide to scale up the 1st 1000 Most Critical Days Programme to other districts in Luapula Province.

The Kawambwa DC also noted that the programme needs to focus on the aspect of mind set change as a lot of Zambian people have a lot of myths regarding nutrition for pregnant women and mothers.

25 COMMENTS

    • Luapulans we look stunted, but very intelligent population. And good at thieving, we steal chicken and sell back to owner. We can even turn into crocodile if we want. Shortness is our asset to hiding.
      Compare from Zambia national team history. OK think of Chiluba, BY, Kalaba, any Kalaba.

    • Cassava is the third-most important food source in tropical countries, but it has one major problem: The roots and leaves of poorly processed cassava plants
      contain a substance that, when eaten, can trigger the production of cyanide .

  1. The tubulus or bena Ng’umbo are naturally short, so what’s the big deal? Bazimvela at kumyesu tulya fles fis.

  2. There’s a chemical in the Cassava Plant that causes such. Our UNZA scientists are still sleeping instead of discovering meds to treat HIV and even Bola – bola…

  3. Isoka is on the next phase which is aimed at scaling up nutrition to atleast 80 districts in the country

  4. Fles Fis alone is malnutrition. Infact now there is no fis at all, you have fised it out with mosquito nets, just those babies claimed to be chinsense. Learn to balance with nsima, mabisi, nyama, vegies of all sorts, not that poisonous tute greens.

    That Ka Mushota chap is stunted also, nothing valuable comes out of its brains…

  5. Ah stunting; this is a complex phenotype being a quantitative trait, and may me be governed not only by environmental factors such as nutrition and exposure to say cyanogenic glycosides in Manihot esculenta (Cranz.) (Mushota where is your Ph.D.?) (Oh sorry Musho!) but also byan interaction between quantitative loci and the same said environmental factors (G x E) interaction. So while Luapula may lead, it is highly unlikely that this same stunting conundrum will be ameliorated by improved nutrition! The effects on Zambian football especially where corner kicks are concerned has been quite frankly dire!

  6. Cassava is the third-most important food source in tropical countries, but it has one major problem: The roots and leaves of poorly processed cassava plants
    contain a substance that, when eaten, can trigger the production of cyanide .now we all know were the problem comes from, too much cyanide.

  7. I come from Luapula and know that the reason for stuntness and blindness has always been blamed on cassava and fish diets. In addition carrying heavy loads by children is thought to be one of the causes.

    • Don’t just yap and throw around unresearched hypotheses. Blindness in luapula arises from river blindness. West Africa had similar cases

  8. In the 80s my dad showed us a research that pointed to stunting and low IQs being caused by cassava. Cassava especially the bitter type was responsible for these ailments and incidences of goitre. Poor academic results in two cassava consuming provinces, Western and Luapula supported the research. Zambia was too scared to tamper with people’s staple diet so the report was hushed. It is 30 years since. Let’s follow up this research

  9. Farmers often prefer the bitter varieties of cassava because they are more drought resistant, deter pests, animals, and thieves. Unfortunately these are the ones with the highest levels of toxins and anti-nutritional factors. The most dangerous toxin is called cyanide which is a post-synaptic junction neuro-blocker causing fast death in poisoning (i.e. through eating). the goitre is not caused by the cassava but by the deficiency of iodine in the diet, which cassava does not have as well.

    there is need for more research in cassava to produce fortified varieties with lower or no toxins though universities, private sector etc. Unfortunately Dora Siliya can’t think of such a simple idea. maybe HH can do it.

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