Partners seek nutrition solutions for children through home fortification
UNICEF Zambia Hosts Home Fortification Regional Workshop
The workshop was organized by UNICEF and co-sponsored by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partners, that include the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Hellen Keller International (HKI), the Micronutrient Initiative (MI), PSI, Sight & Life, UNHCR, the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of California- Davis (UC Davis), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Sprinkles Global Health Initiative (SGHI).
UNICEF Zambia Representative, Dr. Iyorlumun J. Uhaa, joined Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Peter Mwaba and his Community Development, Mother and Child Health Counterpart, Professor Elywn Chomba at the event.
Dr. Mwaba said that the Zambian Government was making efforts to address the high levels of malnutrition in the country.
Dr. Uhaa commended the Zambian government for being part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative to address undernutrition.
He said that in Zambia, 45% of children under the age of five are stunted and 15% are underweight, and 5% are wasted.
“These figures are unacceptably high. We see The SUN movement as an opportunity to make significant progress in nutrition outcomes and to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he said.
The focus on the 1,000 days can realize major shifts in scaling up of well-tested and low-cost nutrition interventions with the backing and engagement of governments from developed and developing countries, donors, development agencies, civil society, academia and private sector.
In most developing countries, under nutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies, are highly prevalent; infants and young children aged 6-24 months and pregnant and lactating women are often the most affected. Among the vitamin and mineral deficiencies affecting infants and young children, deficiencies of vitamin A, iron, iodine, and zinc are the most well-known. Other micronutrient deficiencies such as Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies are also prevalent in certain contexts.
While significant progress has been made in reducing the prevalence of iodine and vitamin A deficiencies, there has been limited success in reducing the burden of iron deficiency anaemia and other micronutrient deficiencies.
Chronic undernutrition in early childhood results in diminished cognitive and physical development, which puts children at a disadvantage for the rest of their lives. They may perform poorly in school, and as adults they may be less productive, earn less and face a higher risk of disease than adults who were not undernourished as children. Children under 2 years old are most vulnerable to chronic undernutrition and it is therefore vital to focus on effective interventions for infants and young children.