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‘Zambia has deficiency in nutritionists’

By PAUL MBOSHYA and MOSES MULENGA
THE National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) says Zambia requires an establishment of 1,360 nutritionists in addition to the 149 specialists available in key sectors.
NFNC chairperson Chifumbe Chintu said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that trained nutritionists are urgently needed in key sectors like health, agriculture, private training institutions and civil society organisations.
“Zambia has a total number of 149 trained staff. Clearly, this number is far below the requirement to effectively address the current nutrition challenges,” he said.
There is a shortage of nutritionists in Northern, Luapula, Muchinga and Eastern provinces.
Prof Chintu said nutritionists would help address challenges of stunting or chronic malnutrition.
“Among children below the age of five, about 1,200,000 have chronic malnutrition. Studies elsewhere have shown that if this type of malnutrition is not corrected, it will affect future productivity,” Prof Chintu said.
He is concerned that 500,000 children below the age of five are underweight.
“An estimated 21 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls are underweight,” Prof Chintu said.
He implored Zambians to embrace healthy living and eating practices to help combat malnutrition.
Prof Chintu is also concerned about the low levels of breastfeeding in the country.
He said 43 percent of newly born babies are not breast-fed within one hour after birth and 75 percent infants are instead given other foods, fluids and traditional medicine.

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