The Government of Zambia’s seventh National Development Plan has identified human development as a priority for sustainable national development. Investment in early childhood development is fully aligned with this national priority. The 7th NDP commits to ensuring a healthy, educated and productive citizenry. Working together across sectors will be key to ensuring these commitments are met and that all children receive nurturing care.  

Early childhood development is explicitly included in the National Health Strategic Plan 2017-2021, the Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition roadmap 2018.2021, and the Nutrition and Antenatal Service Guidelines and the Education Sector Strategic Plan. In 2018, at an inter-ministerial meeting, it was decided that the Ministry of Health would lead inter-ministerial coordination on all matters pertaining to early childhood development. Progress is underway within and across sectors to ensure children receive nurturing care. This includes, utilizing routine health care services at the facility and community levels to support parents with providing nurturing care, updating pre- and in-service training packages for frontline providers, and a playful parenting mass media campaign entitled “I play, I learn, I thrive”.

Virtual advocacy meeting

On 9 December 2020, 22 parliamentarians selected from the Committees on Health, Community Development & Social Services; and Education, Science & Technology participated in a virtual advocacy meeting organized by MOH with support from WHO, UNICEF, and partners. Other UN agencies, cooperating partners and relevant stakeholders also joined.


  • Sensitize participants on the rationale for investing in early childhood development and what is meant by nurturing care
  • Orient participants on the Nurturing Care Framework for Early Childhood Development
  • Provide participants with an overview of interventions underway in Zambia
  • Explore the roles of lawmakers can play to ensure children receive nurturing care

In his keynote speech, Dr. Kennedy Malama, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, reminded the legislators that children need all components of nurturing care as it is the combination that sets them up for success. He also called on lawmakers to raise awareness in their respective constituencies. 

Further information


WHO AFRO Zambia Country Office press release

To learn more about the meeting, contact Mary Bwalya bwalyam@who.int