Vice-President launches Zimbabwe’s National Nutrition Strategy
On 28th April 2015, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched Zimbabwe’s National Nutrition Strategy (2014 – 2018). The plan seeks to ensure nutrition security through the implementation of integrated interventions within a broad public health framework that includes health services, water and sanitation. The strategy was launched during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Business Conference in Bulawayo. He said, “The implementation of this strategy will require the participation and involvement of stakeholders at all levels from the community to the national level. The Ministry of Health and Child Care’s national nutrition department shall spearhead implementation of the strategy with the Food and Nutrition Council maintaining its coordination roles of multiple stakeholders”. This launch follows that of the Food and Nutrition Security Policy (FNSP) launched by President Robert Mugabe in May 2013.
The strategy states that, “Human and economic consequences of the current micronutrient deficiencies in the Zimbabwean population are grave. About 7 700 children and mothers are dying every year due to micronutrient deficiency, lack of essential vitamins and minerals required in the body, (iron, vitamin A, zinc, and folic acid). Cognitive growth losses in children will debilitate about 900 000 of the current population of under-fives resulting in future productivity deficits equivalent to $16 million in annual GDP… In adults, productivity performance deficit is estimated to affect more than 500 000 workers, resulting in an estimated GDP deficit of $43 million annually. Micronutrient deficiencies are also contributing to higher morbidity that is preventable, for instance about 3,5 million more cases of diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, low birth weight and birth defects which are estimated to cost the health system and families an additional $4 million per annum.”
The National Nutrition Strategy is in line with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) Food Security and Nutrition Cluster. Zim Asset (2013 – 2018) is a results based agenda with four strategic clusters that enable Zimbabwe to achieve economic growth.