It is important for any government to invest in nutrition in order to accelerate growth of the economy and the citizens, Civil Society Organisation for Scaling up Nutrition has charged.
The organisation said in 2015 it was looking forward to a leader that would prioritize nutrition in an effort to curb malnutrition and over-nutrition.
CSO-SUN country coordinator William Chilufya said this priority had been missing in many policies that government leaders had come up with and urged all the leaders to reconsider their views on nutrition.
Mr Chilufya said politicians should not expect a healthy nation if there were no strict measures put in place to support nutrition especially in young children. He said there was need to improve the nutrition status in the country in order to reduce the current 40 percent stunting rates in under-five children. He said Zambian leaders should learn to appreciate and advocate nutrition as a health issue which was key in the growth of children.
“We want a leader that would value a healthy nation with health ychildren but so far no leader in their current manifestos has prioritized the need to fight malnutrition. Zambians, when choosing a leader, must vote for nutrition and the health of the future leaders. Our leaders must realize that under-nutrition is a serious public health concern in Zambia and they must have seen it wherever they have gone to campaign especially in the rural areas,” he said. Mr Chilufya said that it was unfortunate that even in the 2015 Budget speech, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda did not address the issue of nutrition when there was need to provide adequate resources to the sector.
He said Government should seriously consider detaching the National Food and Nutrition Commission from the Ministry of Health because little attention was paid to it under that portfolio.
Meanwhile, the CSO-SUN coordinator said that under nutrition if not checked had the potential to hinder national development and urged economists to understand the scourge and advised Government and other stakeholders on the importance to invest in nutrition.
He said there was need to encourage farmers to develop an agricultural system that supported nutrition by planting a variety of food crops. Mr Chilufya said there was need for political will to address malnutrition and urged all Zambians to develop interest in good nutrition. He urged the winner of this month’s presidential election to come up with a deliberate programme that would support the food and nutrition agenda in Zambia.