KEY players and stakeholders in the nutrition sector have been advised to form a collective multisectoral effort in order to win the fight against malnutrition.
The advice was given by Global and Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) Country Director Ms Prisce Rwezahula, during the 20th anniversary celebration of the organisation since its establishment held in Dar es Salaam on Friday.
Ms Rwezahula said gathering aimed at reflecting on GAIN's journey and its contributions with the hope of utilizing the event to connect, take stock, and consider what they can and must do differently to forge even stronger alliances and strategic partnerships that will serve to further nutrition outcomes in Tanzania.
"Without delivering any statistics, I think we can all agree that since 2010, progressive "health outcomes" gains have been secured on the nutrition front in Tanzania, but we are yet to achieve the required momentum and targets," she said.
Ms Rwezahula further said that, stunting, wasting, and micronutrient deficiencies among children under the age of five and their related detrimental consequences are still unacceptable, as are anemia-related maternal mortalities.
"Therefore, while much has been programmatically implemented and accomplished to date, through our partnerships and alliances, we continue to underscore the need for our efforts to be intensified and for us to further strengthen how we can work as effective and efficient partners and collaborators," stressed Rwezahula.
On his part, Assistant Director of Nutritional Services from the President's Office of Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG) Mwita Waibe suggested that, in addition to praising GAINS's efforts in combating the problem of malnutrition, prisoners should also be considered for getting nutritiously enriched food so that they can become good food producers.
However, Mwita applauded the enabling environment and steadfastness of the government under the strong leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan and emphasizes the need for the nutrition stakeholders to build on and strengthen collaborations across common areas of program interventions.
In his remarks, Mr Ashery Manyama, the Headmaster of Udzungwa Secondary School in Iringa, one of the beneficiaries of the training provided by GAIN, was grateful for the enthusiasm they got, which has led his school to have 70 fruit trees, an acre of corn field, and the establishment of a nutrition club in the school.
As part of their support, GAIN has oriented and trained 121 heads of school and 16 education officers on the importance and benefits of supporting biofortified products in order to increase access to essential vitamins and minerals among those most vulnerable to malnutrition through sustainable community-led initiatives.
GAIN is a Swiss-based foundation launched at the UN in 2002 to tackle human suffering caused by malnutrition and is currently operational in 9 countries with high levels of malnutrition.
Over the course of the last 20 years, they have evolved their work to adapt a more holistic food system perspective to advance improvements in the desirability, availability, accessibility, and affordability of safe and nutritious food for all, especially the most vulnerable.