Coordination mechanism: Sector
Year of activation: 2021
NCC: UNICEF Nutrition Specialist double hatting as cluster coordinator. MoH colleagues supporting in coordination.
Co_Lead: GOAL Zimbabwe
IMO: National Officer as IMO
Sub-clusters activated at the provincial level.
January to December 2021
Link to HNO (not available yet)
More than 1 million children under age 5 and 381,843 pregnant and lactating women are in need of nutrition assistance in Zimbabwe in 2021. The number of pregnant and lactating women in need was calculated on the basis of 50 percent of women with poor dietary diversity in the selected districts with the highest global acute malnutrition (GAM). Twelve districts in Zimbabwe have GAM levels above the 5 percent threshold level, according to the ZimVAC. Approximately 74,267 children under age 5 are affected by acute malnutrition, including at least 38,425 facing severe acute malnutrition (SAM). More than 1,200,000 children between 6 and 23 months have shown poor dietary practices; poor quality diets and feeding practices put these children at risk of stunted growth, which affects their development and well-being in adulthood. In 2020, 69 percent of households faced difficulties in accessing food and food products during the 2019 COVID 19 lockdown. Women from food-insecure households had a lower Women Dietary Diversity Score (WDDS) (2.19) as compared to those from food-secure households (2.38). Only 26.1 percent of food-insecure households are likely to consume protein-rich foods and only 11 percent are likely to consume iron-rich foods in comparison to 35.2 percent and 18.8 percent in food-secure households, respectively. Only 6% percent of children in Zimbabwe were consuming the Minimum Accepted Diet (MAD) in 2021, compared to 6.9 percent in 2019, while the proportion of women of childbearing age consuming minimum dietary diversity marginally increased from 19% in 2020 to 33% in 2021. Reducing the number of meals per day and reducing meal portion sizes were reported as the most common coping strategies. This is particularly concerning given that without adequate diversity and meal frequency, infants and young children are vulnerable to malnutrition, especially stunting and micronutrient deficiencies, and to increased morbidity and mortality. Cereal insecure households are particularly likely to experience acute malnutrition and pellagra, which is on the rise in urban areas. Access to health services—a key entry point for nutrition
services—was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 8 percent of rural households experienced difficulties
in accessing health services, according to the ZimVAC and, according to the health information system (DHIS2) data from 2021, there was a sharp decline in Vitamin A supplementation, growth monitoring and promotion and antenatal care (ANC) 4th visit as well as a sharp rise in home deliveries.