Zambia: Govt’s funding for nutrition continues to be undesirably low, Civil Society charges

Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) - The Zambia Civil Society Organisation Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance has bemoaned the meager budget allocation to the coordinating National Food and Nutrition Commission, saying this demonstrates inadequate appreciation on the part of government of the potential dangers exerted by under-nutrition to national and economic development.

Alliance Country Coordinator William Chilufya said the low funding for nutrition programmes also does not give hope to the vulnerable groups – children and mothers – that in the near future the government will act favourably to address some of its commitments as recently made at the Nutrition for Growth summit to increase Nutrition funding by 20 percent annually.

He said the Alliance specifically noted that funding for the National Food and Nutrition Commission has barely been increased to less than 0.74 from last year’s allocation.

“In essence, Malnutrition is devaluing the Zambia’s human capital. In spite of these challenges, the funding to Nutrition has continued to be undesirably low,'' Chilufya told a committee on Estimates of Revenues and Expenditures at parliament late Wednesday analysing the 2015 National budget presented to parliament last Friday.

He said the alliance is concerned that both President’s address at the opening of Parliament and the Minister of Finance 2015 Budget address to parliament never had specific mention of the word 'nutrition' and yet nearly one in every two children is stunted in Zambia.

“In our analysis of the 2015 budget we note that Government has adopted the Multi-Sectoral response to Malnutrition and, in line with this, funding to Nutrition specific and Nutrition sensitive interventions is spread out along six 6 Key line ministries; namely Ministry of Community Development, Mother & Child Health, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives including the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and Ministry of Gender and Child Development. “

“We find that the size of the grand total of the national budget has increased by approximately 9 percent from 2014’s budget. Of this, around 0.1 percent constitutes spending towards Nutrition as a share of the National Budget. This represents a slight increase from nutrition spending in 2014 which was at 0.03 percent as a share of the national budget. Even this increase is extremely low to make an impact on the nutrition crisis in Zambia,” Chilufya added.

According to Chilufya, Zambia is today experiencing the double burden of Malnutrition where under-Nutrition affects overall growth in childhood and limits the development of full intellectual and physical potential of children.

He noted that Government Expenditure per Child under 2 Years is 4 Kwacha 5 Ngwee per child for direct Nutrition interventions in 2015. (1USD dollar = K6.2)

“This is a slight increase from 2013 and 2014 which reflected 2 kwacha 4 Ngwee and 2 Kwacha 6 Ngwee respectively. This falls short of the US$30 (K189) spending per child per year commitment during the Nutrition for Growth Summit in 2013,” Chilufya observed.

While the alliance is happy to see ambitious commitments to reducing under Nutrition in important global declarations such as Nutrition for Growth commitments and the African Union Malabo Declaration, Chilufya however noted a discrepancy between these international commitments and actual action on the ground, especially regarding budgetary allocations going the national budgets on Nutrition.
-0- PANA MM/SEG 16Oct2014

16 Outubro 2014 07:18:37

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