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Child stunting attributed to early marriages

SITEMBILE SIWAWA, Lusaka
ACTING President Guy Scott’s wife, Charlotte, has attributed the rising child stunting levels to early marriage.
Speaking during a Civil Society Organisation Scaling-up Nutrition (CSO-SUN) forum breakfast meeting yesterday,   Dr Scott said there is a strong link between child stunting and early marriage as most young mothers are not aware of the type of foods to give children under the age of five.
She said young mothers need sufficient knowledge on how to prepare nutritious foods for infants if stunting is to be fought.
“We also have a problem of alcohol abuse among women during and after pregnancy. They are not knowledgeable that alcohol abuse affects a child’s growth,” Dr Scott said.
And Chief Mwansakombe of Samfya district said over 300 children die every year in his chiefdom as a result of malnutrition.
The traditional leader said child stunting in his area can only be fought if women are taught basic knowledge on best breastfeeding practices.
He said children need to be exposed to different kinds of foodstuff as opposed to the usual type.
Chief Mwansakombe called on the National Food Nutrition Commission to decentralise the messages of good nutrition to village level.
Earlier, All Party Parliamentary Caucus on Food and Nutrition chairperson Highvie Hamududu said it is good that the debate on nutrition has taken centre stage in Parliament.
Mr Hamududu said Parliament has raised the profile of nutrition and has vowed to fight child stunting.
And CSO-SUN alliance national coordinator William Chilufya said concerted efforts are needed in the fight against malnutrition.
Mr Chilufya said the alliance aims at reducing malnutrition levels from the current 45 percent to 30 percent with support of Government.
“We need to accelerate our efforts in the improvement of our malnutrition status,” Mr Chilufya said.

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