Through its programmes in more than 90 countries across the world, UNICEF is working on making good nutrition a reality for the children, families and communities that need it most.
With over one quarter of Zimbabwean children stunted, concerted efforts are being made to reduce this crippling condition. Stunting slows down children’s growth and brain development affecting performance in school and its impacts are felt later on in life.
The nutrition situation for children and their mothers in Zimbabwe is of grave concern. Malnourishment leads to a diminished likelihood of survival, development, and cognitive capacities, as well as sensory impairments which later affect learning and lead to enrolment and retention losses at school.
Nutritional deficiencies in the population, together with insufficient, quality nutrition services, contribute to Zimbabwe’s biggest challenges, and create the largest burdens on the health system.
Nutritional deficiencies in the population, together with insufficient, quality nutrition services, contribute to Zimbabwe’s biggest challenges and create the largest burdens on the health system.
Amid such challenges, UNICEF supports Government and partners, through multi-systems to reach rural provinces and other population groups, which have high burdens of malnutrition. Interventions focus on improved services - including promoting higher-quality diets and practices - to ensure that more children, adolescents, and pregnant and lactating mothers secure optimal nutrition and development.
UNICEF provides leadership in a multi-stakeholder platform across Zimbabwe, enabling sustainable, integrated nutrition services including malnutrition treatments and nutrition-awareness-raising through C4D. UNICEF’s Nutrition programme uses a transformative ‘system-strengthening approach’: leveraging other sections – Health, Social Protection, WASH, and Education – as well as integrating Early Childhood Development (ECD) and promoting youth participation and entrepreneurship.
Essential nutrition supplies and services must also be more accessible in both development and humanitarian contexts. As such, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health in strengthening the supply chain; mobilizing finances for nutrition (domestically and externally), and advocating for fund allocations to provincial and district programmes.
Key Objectives in Brief
- Reach rural provinces and other population groups which have a high burden of malnutrition
- Improve quality of diets particularly for young children and school age and adolescent
- Provide lifesaving treatments for severe acute malnutrition
- Ensure more children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating mothers access optimal counselling, nutrition, growth and development
- Sustain integrated-nutrition services
- Increase malnutrition treatments
- Create more awareness on good nutrition, including overweight prevention,
- Generate more evidence and new data on adolescent nutrition
- 24% of children (0-5yrs) are stunted, boys even more so than girls
- Poorest children twice as likely to be stunted as those in richest households
- 42% of infants (under 6months) exclusively breastfed for the first six months
- Only 10% children (6-23 months) receiving a minimum acceptable diet
- Existing food systems do not comprehensively tackle the child malnutrition burden
- There is seasonal and chronic food insecurity across all the regions and increasing urban and peri-urban vulnerability