Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) programme in North-Western province will support more than 57 thousand households in their ‘first one thousand’ most critical days phase two programme in Mwinilinga, Zambezi and Solwezi districts.
SUN Provincial Nutrition Support Coordinator, Kalumba Chishipula said according to the 2019 first one thousand most critical days phase two programme baseline survey, 34.9 percent of children under the age of two are stunted in Mwinilinga while 25.8 percent in Solwezi ans 19.2 percent in Zambezi.
Mr Chishipula said noted that stunting can be significantly reduced if 90 percent of the targeted population is reached with the phase two of the first one thousand most critical days programme.
Mr Chishipula said government, through the National Food and Nutrition Commission, has sourced for financial support from cooperating partners amounting to more than K12, million to support the implementation of high impact nutrition interventions in the three districts from October, 2020 to December 2022.
Mr Chishipula disclosed in an interview with ZANIS that said each district will receive over K4 million under phase two of the programme.
He said phase two of the programme aims at promoting a holistic and simultaneous delivery of nutrition and nutrition-related services to the target beneficiaries to achieve even more collective impact.
“Evidence has shown that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life presents as the window of opportunity and has the greatest impact in reducing child stunting, malnutrition in whatever form can result in ill health and impaired physical and mental development, it also negatively impacts an individual’s immunity thereby, reducing one’s ability to fight and recover from illness,” he said.
Mr Chishipula said the SUN programme is a multi-sectoral programme which was endorsed by six key line ministries to implement high priority interventions that have impact on stunting reduction.
“During phase one (2014-2017) and transitional phase in 2018, the programme particularly in North-western province was implemented in two districts namely; Zambezi and Mwinilunga. Phase two (2020) of the programme, Solwezi district has been selected to be part of the SUN movement. The programme will keep on expanding in phases until all the districts are covered,” he said.
He also called on key stakeholders such as traditional, civic and church leaders to support the SUN projects being undertaken in their respective chiefdoms under the programme such as water and sanitation, fish farming and livestock production
Mr Chishipula further thanked cooperating partners for financial and technical among them, DFID, SIDA, USAID, SNV and the German government through UNICEF Zambia for supporting phase two of the programme.
“I also wish to acknowledge the unwavering support from the provincial and district administration offices as they played a pivotal role in ensuring that the programme is well coordinated and yielding good results,” he said.
According to the 2018 Zambia demographic health survey (ZDHS), 35 percent of children under the age of five years are stunted and malnutrition, particularly under-nutrition, is one of the public health issues the country has been struggling with for decades.