Zimbabwe is severely challenged in its efforts to ensure food and nutrition security and needs to strengthen coordination programmes on national food and nutrition collaboration and interventions to ensure a healthy nation says the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Speaking at the commemoration of the World Food Day 2019, at Insukamini Irrigation Scheme in Lower Gweru in the Midlands Province, on behalf of the Secretary for Health and Child Care, the Deputy Director Nutrition, Mr. Handrea Njovo, said that according to the State of Food and Nutrition in the World 2019 report, hunger is on the rise in almost all sub-regions of Africa and this is a worrying indicator which calls for us to take a proactive response to ensure a healthy meal is consumed by our people.
Mr. Njovo said that, “besides the hunger, the consumption of a healthy meal is continuously challenged by the readily availability and marketing of the fast foods culture. Most of our fast foods are prepared by industrial fats also called trans-fats. The consumption of such fats is known to increase the risk of heart diseases and other chronic health conditions.”
In the same mantra of our actions are our future; it is important to ensure there is adequate food and as well as adequate information on what constitutes a healthy diet.” Said Mr. Njovo.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is working through the food systems approach which includes all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: that is growing: harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption and disposal of food ad food related items said the Nutrition Director.
The above approach ensures a multi-stakeholder approach and takes away the burden of ensuring food security from the Ministry of Health and Child Care alone, facilitating a multi-stakeholder collaboration and policy coordination at different levels to manage future challenges and shocks.
The health ministry has adopted food fortification, Vitamin A supplementation for children under the age of 5, iron supplementation to pregnant women and dietary diversification as key tools to ensure that people meet their dietary and nutritional requirements.
More efforts however need to be invested in to ensure active social marketing and nutrition behaviour change communication to raise awareness on the consumption of a healthy diety and its consequences on the health and development of the nation said Mr. Njovo.
By Francis Bingandadi AgriSeason Managing Editor