15 January 2016

Ethiopia: National Nutrition Strategic Plan Readied for Approval

The Ministry of Health said it has finalized preparations to launch national nutrition strategic plan as part of addressing the challenges of malnutrition and ensure healthy nutrition system at the opening of the 2nd National Food and Nutrition Research Dissemination Conference organized by Ethiopian Public Health Institute here yesterday.

The five-year national plan will be approved by state ministers of 11 sector offices who are members of the national nutrition coordination body, said Nutrition Programme Coordinator Birara Meles.

Malnutrition is still serious in Ethiopia. Although it affects all segments of the society, its magnitude in children is high. Malnutrition is characterized by stunting, underweight and wasting. In Ethiopia, 40 per cent of the total children population are victims of stunting. While 25 per cent and 9 per cent of children are affected by underweight and wasting respectively. Out of the total population of children, 53 per cent per cent infant death is caused by malnutrition. As the problem continues to grip its impacts, the Ministry has finalized its new five-year strategic plan with a view to addressing the problem.

According to the new plan, the sector offices will set up departments in their structures towards ensuring healthy nutrition system. The strategic plan embraces five objectives including promoting child and mother nutrition system, addressing non-transmitted diseases caused by poor nutrition system and others.

Speaking at the opening of the three-day conference held under the theme: 'Micro-nutrients Intervention for Child Survival and Sustainable Development Hunger Free Ethiopia in SDGs' Ethiopian, Public Health Institute Director General Dr. Amaha Kebede said evidence-based information coming from researchers, academia, and other stakeholders is crucial to identify facts on the ground regarding malnutrition and micro-nutrition system in the country.

Research findings are important inputs for concerned bodies to take measures and find a way forward. Some 35 studies would be presented in the three-day conference in different topics and the inputs will also be used by the actors to have a common consensus and address malnutrition and ensure better nutrition system, the General Director added.

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