World Food Programme, Ireland fight malnutrition in Malawi

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the government of Ireland are now dug in frontline war trenches to fight malnutrion in Malawi and say victory is pn their side.

A Malawian grandmother rests  close to her malnoureshed grandson in Zomba ©Gianluigi Guercia, AFP

WFP and the Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Ministry of Health on Wednesday welcomed a timely contribution of K515 million from the government of Ireland to support interventions that prevent malnutrition in Malawi.

“Four of every 10 children are affected by chronic malnutrition,” said Benoit Thiry, WFP Country Representative in Malawi.

“Ireland’s contribution will propel efforts to improve the quality of nutrition services for vulnerable children and women. “

The contribution will be used to promote access to quality nutrition and health services targeting 30,000 malnourished children, adolescents, and women in Neno District focussing on maternal, infant and child nutrition to reduce stunting and micronutrient deficiencies.

The contribution comes at a time when the country is impacted by COVID-19 which is threatening the efforts to improve nutrition and health in the country.

In addition, the contribution will be used to provide technical support to the Government of Malawi in establishing a National Nutrition Centre of Excellence. The Centre will be a national hub for evidence generation, knowledge sharing and information management for nutrition innovation.

“Nutrition is vitally important throughout a person’s life,” said Seamus O’ Grady, Ambassador, Embassy of Ireland in Malawi.

“The Government of Ireland is pleased to renew its commitment to support Malawi’s effort towards ending malnutrition especially at the subnational level (Neno District) and by reaching those further behind who in this case comprise of women and young girls.”

The Government of Ireland is one of the largest donors to WFP’s nutrition programme in Malawi.

WFP is working with the Government of Malawi, development partners and communities to improve nutrition for vulnerable people through the implementation of the National Multisector Nutrition Policy.

Good nutrition is critical to achieving full physical growth of children.

In Malawi, malnutrition remains a serious challenge and contributes to preventable child deaths.

At least 37% of children in Malawi are affected by stunting (being too short for one’s age) while only 8% of children aged 6-23 months meet the minimum acceptable diet.

Stunted children are more likely to drop out of school and repeatedly experience lower productivity later in life.

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