The Ministry of Health has called for the continued fight against malnutrition by various stakeholders, observing it is a healthy population that can meaningfully participate in development of the country.
The Ministrys Principal Secretary for Administration, Bester Chisamile, made the remarks Friday in Lilongwe during the official launch of the Increase Gains in Nutrition by Integration Education and Empowerment (IGNIT3) project.
He said although the country has made great strides in achieving the SDG 2 of ending all forms of malnutrition, the fight against malnutrition is not yet completely won.
“As we speak, current data shows that we managed to reduce the percentage of children under five years of age who are stunted from 47 to 37 percent.
“We have also reduced the percentage of children under five years of age who are wasted from four to two percent, thereby meeting the global nutrition target on wasting,” he said.
According to Chisamile, all these achievements are a clear indication that the investments the government is making in nutrition are actually paying off.
But he said despite the positive strides, the fight against malnutrition is not yet completely won.
“Even with the noted decline, continued efforts are needed to address the macronutrient deficiencies and the high rate of stunting.
“Additionally, zinc deficiency is an emerging public health concern affecting over 60 percent of the population, including children under the age of five and women of reproductive age group,” he said.
Chisamile said through the launch of the project, the government through the Ministry of Health plans to address the challenges in nutrition by implementing targeted and integrated nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.
Project Director Janet Guta said the project aims at addressing gaps in the provision of essential nutrition interventions in the hard to reach under five children.
“Without resources and relevant capacity to reach to the hard to reach and marginalized children, there can be little change and improvement in the nutrition outcomes,” she said.
Director for IGNIT3 project, Dr. Kondwani Katundu, who is also a lecturer at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS), said the project will transform nutrition health care by equipping various healthcare professionals through accredited online in-person modules, focusing on nutrition interventions for pediatric patients and the supply of medical nutrition products for sick children.
IGNIT3 is a five-year capacity building project which will be led by the Centre for Global Child Health at the hospital of sick children (SickKids) within KUHeS, in collaboration with Nutrition International and Water Aid.
The $20 million sustainable capacity building project, financially supported by the Government of Canada through the Global Affairs Canada, is expected to directly benefit 500,000 individuals in health facilities, communities, and education institutions across Ghana, Malawi and Pakistan
ANGALIBA TV and FM is a cultural station with audiences across Malawi and beyond. Our programs champion meaningful communication for development through “mindset change” and by understanding culture through best education design systems in order to attain meaningful but sustainable socio-economic development.
Angaliba is a theme-based channel and radio station.