Remarks by USAID/Zambia Director Sheryl Stumbras, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Learning Conference in Lusaka

Thursday, October 31, 2019
USAID/Zambia Director, Sheryl Stumbras, gives remarks at the first SUN Learning Conference in Lusaka, Zambia
USAID/Zambia Director, Sheryl Stumbras, gives remarks at the first SUN Learning Conference in Lusaka, Zambia
Taylor Yess, USAID/Zambia

 

USAID Director Sheryl Stumbras
(Remarks as prepared)

The Zambian Minister of Health, Honorable Chitalu Chilufya
Provincial Directors, District representatives, and other officers and representatives from the Government of the Republic of Zambia present
Representatives from the donor and NGO community
SUN LE Staff and USAID staff present
Distinguished invited guests
Friends in the media
Ladies and gentlemen

Welcome and thank you for joining us for the first annual Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) 2.0 National Conference.  It is my honor to be here today on behalf of the United States government.

We all understand the tremendous need to work together to reduce the high level of stunting and malnutrition in Zambia. 

We all aspire to create a world where every child starts off life with the ability to achieve their full potential and realize their dreams.

We also know that Zambia’s critically high rates of stunting have persisted for several decades, reaching almost 50 % in rural communities. Malnutrition and stunting impedes children’s’ physical growth and cognitive development, and consequently, seriously hinder Zambia’s long-term development prospects.  It affects Zambia’s most valuable resource - its people.

We cannot overstate how critical the first 1,000 days are to a child’s cognitive and physical development, and by extension, to their ability to contribute to Zambia’s national development.

The United States government and the cooperating partners here today believe the Most Critical Days Programme II (MCDP II) is at the very foundation of efforts to curb malnutrition and improve the health of mothers, infants and young children. 

The USAID’s Scaling Up Nutrition Learning and Evaluation and Technical Assistance (TA) programs support the Zambian Government and cooperating partners’ coordinated efforts to end malnutrition in Zambia. USAID’s programs facilitates learning and evaluation for Zambia’s Most Critical Days Program by measuring program outcomes and impact on stunting. It is a program that belongs to all of us here today and everyone who works on nutrition programs in Zambia.

The quality, quantity and timely availability of data gathered through USAID’s Scaling Up Nutrition Learning and Evaluation program is crucial to help all of us identify the most cost-effective and sustainable approaches to prevent stunting. 

Our objective is to be able to use this data, effectively and in real time, to adapt activities as needed to enhance and sustain impact.

We are excited to share the baseline results from the Learning and Evaluation program with you today. With this common standard across 30 districts, and with the midline and annual performance audits that will conduct, all of us will be able to follow the progress made by each district in reducing stunting allowing interventions to be adapted to help us meet Zambia’s ambitious goals to reduce stunting among children.

All of our donor initiatives are stronger since they are paired with government-led initiatives, such as the Zambian Government’s commitment to the MCDP II, and the goal of ensuring the K400 Kwacha per child funding is released and gets to community and ward level, where the needs are the greatest.

However, even working together, we have limited resources and it will still be difficult to achieve and sustain Zambia’s Most Critical Day Program (MCDP) goals.

We believe Zambia's goals can be achieved if we also harness the critical private-sector resources within the country. We must actively seek and engage in productive partnerships with private-sector actors wherever and whenever it is cost-effective to do so.

The U.S. government commends the Government of the Republic of Zambia, DFID and other cooperating partners who began this journey during the SUN 1.0 Program. You laid the foundation which the new Scaling Up Nutrition 2.0 program is now building upon.

I want to thank all of you for joining us here today, and I look forward to today’s presentations.  I challenge all of us here to use this information as the platform for informed and effective decision-making.  We can work towards ending chronic malnutrition in Zambia and unleashing the full potential of Zambia's next generation of leaders. 

I know we all look forward to seeing the first generation of young Zambians free of malnutrition. 

Intercontinental Hotel, Lusaka
Issuing Country 

Last updated: November 18, 2019

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