About 45 per cent of children in Zambia who are below the age of five are stunted due to malnutrition. The Zambia Civil Society – Scaling Up Nutrition (CSOSUN) Alliance - says it considers malnutrition as a violation of children’s rights.
The Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) reported on Monday, citing CSOSUN Alliance national coordinator, William Chilufya.
He said empowering women played a pivotal role of improving nutrition in many households and is cardinal to the growth and development of children.
Children who are undernourished are said to be at a greater risk of having difficulty in learning, playing or engaging in normal childhood activities and are also vulnerable to disease due to weakened immune response.
“Empowering women especially expectant mothers is critical to the health of the unborn child and to the future generations,” Chilufya explained, adding that every child had the right to adequate and appropriate nutrition as stipulated in the Convention on the Right’s of a Child.
“As CSOSUN, we feel there is need to empower women to make informed choices such as breastfeeding and nutritious foods during pregnancy and lactating. Considering the important role that women play in improving the nutrition status of children.”
According to the 2013 Zambia Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) progress report, women’s low socio-economic status and reproductive role expose them to risks of poor health and premature death.
Chilufya stressed that the high maternal mortality rate in the country was rooted in gender inequality.