By Mundia Mundia
Stunted growth can have permanent negative effects on its victims in later years of life which are a threat to the economic wellbeing of any nation.
The Zambia Civil Society-Scaling up Nutrition (CSOSUN) alliance says children who are undernourished are at a greater risk of having difficulty in learning, playing or engaging in normal childhood activities.
Stunted children are also vulnerable to disease due to weakened immune response, leading to a huge disease burden to the government’s scarce resources.
Other long term effects of stunting in children under five include damage to their cognitive development in school achievement, slow growth in height and poor economic performance in later life.
The levels of stunted growth in children under five years old in Zambia are some of the highest in Africa with close to half of all under five children being affected.
The children’s nutrition starts with their parents mainly the mother and it is most likely that the mothers to these children are themselves facing the long term effects of the stunting that affected them in their early stages of life.
Not paying attention to this challenge is a time bomb that will greatly cause more damage to the almost ‘failed’ state of Zambia.
If half of children under five in Zambia are stunted, it simply means Zambians of adult age are ‘graduates’ of stunted growth.
The consequences are quite scary, imagine a national football team composed of players who suffered from stunted growth in their early stages in life; they would most likely be small in stature and low in performance.
Talk of voters who have permanently been ‘damaged’ by stunting, what are the results if such were to compose more than half of registered voters? Chances are also high that a ‘graduate’ of stunted growth can end up in State House as a president thanks to voters who are former classmates in the Zambian school of stunting.
If this was to be the case, the country would then be in real trouble with a stunted economy, stunted pre-school children, stunted football team, low quality university graduates and failure by the media to take on stunted politicians because they are themselves stunted. Worse still, we would have stunted members of parliament dosing and voting wrongly in parliament.
I am now seriously considering engaging my parents to furnish me with information on my early childhood life as chances are that I may be suffering from the same.
Look at your comment and judge if you also need to find out on your early childhood.
Children born under the Paya future (PF) leadership that has borrowed heavily to better their lives may just be the worst affected.