Kick Out Stunting Campaign Starts On High Note

THE Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations Scaling Up Nutrition (ZCSOSUNA) has launched a campaign targeting adolescents with the aim of raising awareness around nutrition issues affecting young children in the country.

By Michael Gwarisa

The campaign dubbed “Kick out Stunting Campaign” uses sports and outdoor recreational activities to bring young people together and teach them the basics and essentials of nutrition. The campaign kicked off in Kuwadzana 6, Harare and was graced by several school  pupils from schools in Kuwadzana who came to watch a football match between two of Corpus Christ High school teams as well as learn about nutrition.

In an interview with HeathTimes on the side-lines of the event, ZCSOSUNA National Coordinator, Kudakwashe Zombe said young people in particular adolescents were being left out in most nutrition interventions despite them being at high risk.

The Kick Out stunting campaign is a campaign that is aimed at raising awareness among adolescents and it’s also aimed at promoting physical activity among the youths. It is also aimed at providing information on nutrition to the youths.

“This in an age group that we feel has been neglected for quite some time, especially taking into consideration that most of the nutrition interventions available are targeting children below the age of five as well as pregnant and lactating women. Interventions do not take into consideration the fact that adolescents however have high nutritional needs,” said Zombe.

He added that iron deficiency which affects women later in future during pregnancy could have developed during the puberty stage.

“The challenge is very big, i might not have statistics at hand here but if we are to look at iron deficiency which is affecting women, it starts at the adolescent stage. Taking into consideration that these girls are now at puberty they are most likely to lose blood, they need more iron during their adolescents’ stage.

“We need more studies to get an in-depth understanding on how really this group is being affected.”

He also said the campaign will soon be launched in some parts of the country to scale up the fight against stunting, under-nutrition and malnutrition at a national level.

“It’s a campaign that we feel has to be taken countrywide, from here we are going to be launching this campaign in Manicaland, that is Chipinge and Mtasa districts where one of our organisations Nutrition Action Zimbabwe (NAZ) is going to be implementing this campaign.

“Taking into consideration that very soon schools will be closed, we hope in the third term, NAZ will be taking the kick out campaign in Manicaland in Mtsasa and Chipinge districts,” said Zombe.

In Zimbabwe 1 in 4 children under the age of 5 years are being exposed to long episodes of under nutrition during their first 1000 days of life resulting in childhood stunting (shorter than expected height).

A 1000 days is the exact number of days from conception until a child reaches 2 years. Stunting indicates that a child is failing to thrive; it often begins in the womb, when a pregnant woman is not getting enough of the nutrients that is proteins, vitamins and energy she needs to support her baby’s growth and development during pregnancy.






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