Under-nutrition is the leading cause of death of young children in the world. Babies who were malnourished in the womb have a higher risk of dying in infancy and are more likely to face life-long cognitive and physical deficits and chronic health problems.
For children under the age of two under nutrition can be life-threatening, often irreversible and reach far into the future. It retards a child’s ability to learn, weakens their immune system and makes them more susceptible to dying from common illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. Zambia has one of the highest rates of childhood stunting (45%) from under-nutrition in the world. In addition, 54% of children have a Vitamin A deficiency, 53% have iron deficiency (anemia) and 9.3 % are born under-weight, indicating poor maternal nutrition.
The education of mothers in the first 1000 days from conception is absolutely vital. Lifeline Energy is providing our solar and wind-up Lifeplayer MP3s to mothers’ listening groups in rural areas. Mothers will listen to radio-based behaviour change messages that will focus on maternal nutrition and diet, taking iron tablets and folic acid during pregnancy, breastfeeding, using mosquito nets effectively and attending pre and post-natal clinics.
Encouraging healthy lifestyles will help prevent stunting, aid mothers in raising healthier and well-nourished children and ultimately save lives. The mothers, who are poor and often illiterate, live in farming communities and do not have access to radio.
Lifeline Energy is working in collaboration with Zambia’s National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) which created the radio content. A consortium of government ministries including Education, Health, Agriculture, Local Government, and Housing and Community Development, as well as organisations UN agencies, NGOs and others are working with NFNC to spearhead the ambitious first 1000 days initiative, with the aim of bring stunting levels down by 15% by the year 2015. In addition, Zambia’s Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) has prioritised nutrition among the cross cutting issues for health and economic development. Please support important initiative and help to improve and even save the lives of young children in Zambia.