Zambia, Africa should step up war against hunger, disease

THE main challenge Zambia and Africa is facing  is fighting hunger, diseases and malnutrition, says an international health expert from Zimbabwe Darlington Chidawadzi.

In an interview, Mr. Chidawadzi said Africa at large has in a long time now failed to address hunger, diseases and malnutrition because it does not have the capacity and systems in place that deal with the actual problem.

He said Government, for instance, has failed to deal with the root cause of hunger, diseases and malnutrition, instead finds it cheap to address the aftermath of the hunger which was diseases and malnutrition.

“For instance according to an international summit we had late last month in UK there was a call by the international community for Africa and Zambia inclusive to make calls for a “a radical departure from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approach” to development in order to reach the most disadvantaged. Because it highlighted how development progress under the MDGs has been uneven, and current trends reflect patterns of rising inequality.

Aid to Africa is now dwarfed by foreign direct investment (FDI) flows – which at $55bn in 2010 was five times the total amount of aid received and you cannot see meaningful reduction in poverty, malnutrition and diseases despite the Southern African region remaining the largest recipient of assistance globally, and, despite high recent growth rates, one of the least developed,” said Mr. Chidawadzi.

He said as such aid towards such programmes did not produce projected results by 2015.

“As such, the effectiveness of aid and development institutions is under scrutiny as international actors look to set the development agenda for the next 15 years under the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework which will replace the MDGs.

“For too many poor people, the question is not whether they will have access to services by 2015 or even 2030, but by 2090 or even later,” said Mr. Chidawadzi.

“Too often donor-funded aid programmes are designed as ‘one size fits’ all, not tailored to the political realities and the capacity to deliver of the countries they are operating.”

The health expert noted that domestic ownership and local knowledge towards the fight against hunger, diseases and malnutrition were not considered core principles within the developing communities in Zambia making it difficult to implement programmes.

“Statistics highlighted in the report show how rising inequality accentuates differences in development outcomes, as well as the mixed track record of current implementation models and thinking under the MDGs,” he said.

“And across sub-Saharan Africa, wealthy boys in urban areas will achieve universal primary school completion a full 65 years before poor, rural girls.

“These disparities threaten to further entrench the widening inequality gap, which intersects with gender and urban-rural divisions,” he said.


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