The European Union (EU) has hailed the commitment by the government to end malnutrition in the country after scaling up nutrition movement through the third Joint Multi- Sectoral Nutrition Review.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Tanzania, Ambassador Roeland Van De Geer, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the 'Call to Action in Nutrition' by the government also demonstrates its commitment to nutrition as a national plan. The EU Envoy was speaking at the signing ceremony of five-year Nutrition and Food Security Project funded by the EU and implemented by WFP.
The WFP received a contribution of 9.5 million euro from the EU in support of the project worth 24.5 million euro in Central Tanzania. The project is designed to improve food and nutrition security for 40,000 people while contributing to the reduction of malnutrition in the targeted districts of Bahi and Chamwino in Dodoma Region and Ikungi and Singida Rural in Singida Region.
Mr De Geer pointed out that despite significant improvements in many health indicators over the past decades there has been insufficient progress in improving the nutritional status of children and women.
"The persistent levels of stunting, wasting and micronutrient deficiencies in the country constitute a silent emergency. The new high-level political commitment to fight under-nutrition in Tanzania from a multi-sectoral perspective is a real game-changer," he said.
Mr De Geer noted that the project to be executed in Dodoma and Singida regions will put in place concrete nutrition sensitive and nutrition specific actions to address stunting largely to improve access to and use of nutritious food by women and children through social behaviour change.
The national level of stunting stands at 34 per cent, with Dodoma at 36.5 per cent and Singida at 29.2 per cent. WFP Country Representative, Mr Michael Dunford said the programme will provide evidence that will inform future initiatives and that it carries the potential to bring about lasting positive changes in the country.
"The project will work to improve knowledge on nutrition, dietary diversity and practices in water, sanitation hygiene," he said. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya, extended gratitude to the EU and WFP for intervention in food security and nutrition in the country.
"The project will serve as a model to other regions. Once this is successful, we will invite other people to come and learn from it," said the Permanent Secretary.