An alliance of local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) has challenged the government to avail enough food to scale up fight against stunting and malnutrition in the country.
By Delicious Mathuthu
Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (ZCSOSUNA), a consortium of NGOs fighting against stunting and malnutrition in children under the ages of two years, is advocating for at least three percent in the country’s national budget to go towards nutrition issues.
The organisation urge that the fight against malnutrition in the country is too slow having progressed by seven percent in nine years.
ZCSOSUNA National Coordinator, Kudakwashe Zombe, who was in Gweru on Wednesday training Midlands NGOs in the sector on budget analysis and advocacy, applauded government’s efforts but said a lot still needs to be done to speed up the process.
“We realised that from the surveys that have been conducted, one in every four children in Zimbabwe are stunted, and the government should be taking the leading role in fighting malnutrition in all its forms.
“We want government to allocate at least three percent of the national budget towards nutrition. I think our government is very committed in fighting malnutrition in all its forms as evidenced by the Food and Nutrition Security policy as well as the Nutrition Strategy but when it comes to the progress that we are making, we are moving at a slow pace,” he said.
Zombe said the country has only progressed by seven percent in nine years, from 33 percent in 2010 to 26 percent in 2019.
The alliance is comprised of NGOs targeting pregnant and lactating women as well as children below the age of two years where programmes such as infants and young children feeding practices, integrated management of acute malnutrition, as well as those promoting the consumption of fortified foods.
Making a presentation at the same event, ZCSOSUNA Finance and Administration Officer Beuadette Tuso said the critical window of opportunity to intervene and prevent malnutrition or stunting is within the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
She said from pregnancy or conception till a child is two years, reversing the effects of stunting which include poor brain development, can still be reversed.
Stunting due to malnutrition leads to effects such as slow brain development and low IQ, vulnerability to diseases and generally getting sick, low economic performance at adult stage which leads to a country’s Gross Domestic Product decline.
Also present was Joel Chipfuwamuti, ZCSOSUNA Projects Monitoring and Evaluation Officer who took those in attendance through the budget process in Zimbabwe and best methods to analyze the budget in search of funds allocated towards nutrition .
Third World Countries globally are the most affected by malnutrition as most families cannot afford basic needs and balanced diets due to poverty.