Zambia Launches the First 1000 Most Critical Days Programme
On 3 April Vice President of Zambia, Guy Scott, formally announced the launch of the First 1000 Most Critical Days Programme and Strategic Plan of the National Food and Nutrition Commission for 2011-2015. The program aims to scale up proven nutrition interventions to reduce childhood stunting. According to the 2008 Annual Report of the Food and Nutrition Situation in Zambia, stunting currently impacts roughly 45% of children in Zambia and, if unchanged, will cost the country an estimated USD $775 million in productivity over ten year period 2004-2013.
Represented at the launch by Community Development Minister Dr. Joseph Katema, Vice President Scott noted that the high rate of stunting in the country “…is unacceptable because it compromises our economic and national development potential which is dependent on children growing and developing well into strong and productive adults. As government, we are concerned because we do not want our children to become trapped in a vicious circle of factors that perpetuate and accentuate the problem of stunting.”
The government has pledged to ensure that activities under the 1000 Most Critical Days Programme are coordinated among ministries and receive proper funding and resource support to meet the program goals.
Also speaking at the occasion of the launch, Zambia Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance National Coordinator, William Chilufya said, “there is need for us as a country to build the political will to tackle under nutrition; we must ensure effective high-level national coordination. We must increase spending, we must address serious gaps to ensure adequate human resource at all levels, and we must protect nutrition funding,” At the event, Mr. Chiluya also presented 10 key recommendations on how to improve nutrition in Zambia and meet the goals of the 1000- Most Critical Days Program and the National Food and Nutrition Commission’s Strategic Plan.
The multiple-award winning Zambian musical group, the Muvi Posse, performed a new nutrition theme song at the launch event, produced in cooperation with the Zambia Civil Society Alliance for Scaling Up Nutrition to spread messages on the importance of nutrition during the critical 1,000 day window of opportunity.
The UK Government has also recently announced a commitment of K130 million (£15 million) to support the national First 1000 Most Critical Days Programme.
Read additional information about the launch via the source links below:
Post Zambia: Scott Bemoans Under-Nutrition among Children
Times of Zambia: Veep Launches First Nutrition Programme