Gvt Urged To Increase Funding Towards Nutrition…As Malnutrition Stalks Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE continues to be trailed by long episodes of malnutrition amidst indications that one in every four children under the age of five years is experiencing malnutrition within their 1000 days from birth up to two years.

By Michael Gwarisa

Briefing journalists in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (ZCSOSUNA) National Coordinator, Kudakwashe Zombe said there was need for government and partners to mobilise domestic financial resources towards supporting nutrition interventions in the country.

“We are however deeply concerned that despite progress made in reducing hunger and undernourishment in the country, nearly 1 in every 4 children under the age of 5 years continue to experience long episodes of poor nutrition within their first 1000 days that is from conception until they reach two years.

“The National Nutrition Survey of 2018 key findings revealed that 26.2% of children are stunted. We would like to remind policy makers and key decision makers in government that everyone in the country has the right to adequate, safe and nutritious foods as articulated in the constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Zombe.

He added that malnutrition remains a public health threat in Zimbabwe and there was need for urgent attention in order to eliminate the problem of malnutrition.

“It is unacceptable that one in every four children under the age of five continue to suffer from or die of preventable causes of malnutrition in all its forms.

“We cannot continue to deny children the right to realise their full potential because of preventable issues, we need to ensure children realise their human rights to adequate food and nutrition. The time for action is now!”

Zimbabwe is among 19 countries committed to scaling up nutrition through increasing own investment. There are 14 countries that pledged to increase domestic resources to improve nutrition, and 13 countries set national stunting reduction targets that meet or exceed the World Health Assembly goals for 2025.

However Zombe lamented the poor funding towards nutrition in Zimbabwe and called on government to increase budgetary allocation towards nutrition.

“Within the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), there is the National Nutrition Department and this department actually gets some allocation from the national budget. According to the East and Southern Africa budget analysis which was conducted for the fiscal year 2015, only 0.45% of the national budget was going towards nutrition.

“This is one of the reasons why we had a call to say our government needs to take into consideration and at least allocate 3% of the national budget to nutrition because there department is under resourced,” said Zombe.

Meanwhile, according to the East and Southern Africa report, the majority of funding for nutrition associated programs was coming from donors in most African countries such as Mozambique (67%), South Sudan (82.8%), and Zambia (67%).

Governments for South Sudan, Zambia and Mozambique allocate the least share of their national budget to nutrition activities from their own resources at 0.09%, 0.25% and 0.33% respectively. Rwanda allocated the most at 0.80%, followed by Malawi (0.58%) and Madagascar (0.57%.).

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