Malnutrition levels in Malawi shocking—Machel

Graca Machel Trust founder Graca Machel has described malnutrition levels in the country in Malawi as alarming; and, has since called for more effort from civil society organisations (CSOs) and stakeholders.

Malawi Health Minister Atupele Muluzi discussing with Graca Machel

Machel said in the capital Lilongwe during a high level dialogue on the state of malnutrition in Malawi organised by Civil Society Organisation Nutrition Alliance (CSONA).

According to studies, the current stunting levels in Malawi are said to have dropped from 47 to 37 per cent.

But Machel said this “is not enough,” adding there should be a close relationship between CSONA and cabinet—not just parliament—if pushing for policy implementation is to be hastened.

She said parliamentarians need to take nutrition messages to their constituents to deal with malnutrition.

“Use the church and community gatherings. They are effective platforms,” said Machel.

While in the country, Machel dated various stakeholders including the Minister of Agriculture to push for the Food and Nutrition Law, and urged members of parliament to be vigilant until it is passed.

During the meeting CSONA commended government over the newly launched MDGS III, which now has nutrition as a separate chapter in the document saying the move shows that the country is making progress in the ongoing malnutrition debate

Stakeholders also pushed for the launch of new nutrition policy which has remained idle for over 5 years since the previous policy expired.

One delegate gave an example on how underfunding is affecting activities to do with malnutrition.

“Some districts like Ntcheu; for example, the nutrition office receives only K1 million per year; and what can they do with that little money?” wondered the delegate.

CSONA programme manager, Bessie Ndovi, said there is need to advocate for behavior change in districts which are regarded as food baskets in Malawi but are still recording high numbers of malnutrition cases.

In the Malawi Demographic Household Survey of 2016, Malawi has reduced stunting cases by 10 percent against the 47 percent recorded in 2010.

But some districts like Dedza, Mchinji, Mangochi, Ntcheu and Neno are still recording over 40 percent cases of malnutrition.

Unfortunately, these are some of the districts regarded as food baskets in the country.

“Most rural people are poor and they mainly produce for sale and not for consumption. So, they sell their best produce in order to support their families.

“What we need to do is provide advocacy in these communities for them to be able to strike a balance between their incomes and their household needs so that they may be able to provide nutritious food to their under five children,” said Ndovi.

Ndovi noted that the Ministry of Agriculture is currently promoting agribusiness among farmers.

She; however, said this advocacy being called for does not mean stopping farmers from selling their produce, but rather teaching them on how best to budget for it.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

Nutrition planning in Malawi is too confined to capital hill offices. Unlike other professions like engineers, accountants, marketers teachers, nurses, doctoctors etc, nutrition bureaucrats do not want to engage expertise and support of thousands of retired nutrition workers. We for example never hear of nutritionists/home economists meeting to brainstorm through associations or such professional groupings. I am sure there would be very positive responses if nutrition directors at capital woild call out for nutrition volunteers to support mobilization in their localities,

5 years ago

Oh really, I thought the President and his “basket of deplorables ” believe that no one goes to bed hungry, in their fantasy
land they believe that Malawi has transformed beyond their recognition. I’m glad that someone from outside with a non- partisan mind can immediately spot the serious problems this country is facing. Thanks Madam Graca. Machel for saying the truth! we have serious problems wakumva wamva!

5 years ago

I just hope His Excellency President Professor Dr Peter Mutharika and his cabinet ministers will read the feedback from Graca Machel of Graca Machel Trus. She is an outsider and maybe you’ll take her feedback a bit more seriously. It is a proven fact that undernourished children grow up with low cognitive and critical thinking skills and struggle to cope with the challenges in modern social order. In effect Malawi with no pro-poor policies is brewing a whole nation incapable of living meaningful life in a society that is becoming more and more complex. Nutrition is a basic human right… Read more »

5 years ago

Zoona zake ngati iz ndi umboni kuti zinthu sizili bwino ku Malawi. Koma m’malo mobvomela ndikufunsa uphungu mukumva dzi anthu za DPP kuti ameneyu ndi ma MCP and its because previous governments didn’t do much…………!

Read previous post:
Aford woes continue, Mwenifumbo faction goes to court to force party hold convention

An Alliance for Democracy (Aford)  faction led by party presidential aspirant Frank Mwenifumbo has gone to the High Court in Lilongwe...