Maputo — The European Union has agreed to provide Mozambique with 30 million euros (about 37 million US dollars) to support the campaign for improved nutrition over the next four years.
The drive to combat chronic malnutrition is being undertaken by the Ministry of Health through the National Health Institute (INS).
Geert Anckaert, the head of operations in the Economic Development and Governance section of the EU delegation in Maputo, announced the financing on Thursday, during the launch of a project to assess nutrition programmes and policies.
This project seeks to compile and analyse data on maternal, infant and child health, to assess the effectiveness of health and nutrition programmes.
Anckaert told reporters that, for the EU, “it is very important to support the government in implementation of its nutrition strategy. We are supporting the government in implementing the national plan to reduce malnutrition. We shall also look at specific interventions in the areas of nutrition, water and sanitation. And we shall improve knowledge of nutritional data”.
The scientific director of the INS, Eduardo Samo Gudo, described the Thursday launch as an opportunity for all those collaborating in the project to discuss the question of nutrition in Mozambique.
Those collaborators include the John Hoskins University of the United States, the National Statistics Institute (INE), the Food and Nutritional Security Technical Secretariat (SETSAN), and the Finance and Education Ministries.
Data provided by Claudia Lopes, the SETSAN Director of Policy and Planning, indicate that 43 per cent of Mozambican children under the age of five are chronically malnourished. In the northern provinces, this figure rises to over 50 per cent.
“Various measures are being taken by the government to speed up the reduction in malnutrition”, said Lopes. “One is the establishment of the National Food Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister”.
Other measures were a study on how much a basic basket of foodstuffs for a household costs, and another identifying priority interventions in nutrition.