Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding they say will significantly contribute to reducing malnutrition in Africa.
GAIN Board chair Jay Naidoo and Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, signed the pact here, noting that its aim is to develop a five-year joint programme to support national investment programmes, which fully integrate nutrition security into the Comprehensive Africa
Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and help to harmonise CAADP and nutrition interventions.
In Africa, one in four people suffer from malnutrition, 25 percent of children are undernourished and 40 percent are stunted. In addition, 53 percent of pregnant women in Africa are anaemic.
“Malnutrition is costing millions of lives, in particular women and children. It also prevents millions of people from contributing to the continent’s growth and development,” said Naidoo.
He explained that the agreement is directly linked to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, including reduction of poverty, malnutrition and child mortality, besides improvement of maternal health and control of AIDS and many other infectious diseases.
It is estimated that countries lose up to 3 percent of GDP due to malnutrition.
“We know solutions exist to reduce malnutrition through a number of simple, targeted and cost-effective interventions,” said Naidoo.
“The critical window of opportunity is the first 1,000 days of life, from conception to two-years old. Fortified staples, the promotion of breastfeeding, complementary foods after six months of age are some of those interventions available to help break this cycle of malnutrition."
On his part, Mayaki said: “Since malnutrition has multiple causes, improvement requires multi-sectoral action across the food security, agriculture, social protection, health and educational sectors. This poses a significant delivery challenge for national governments. Although tested, affordable and effective interventions are available; implementation has not yet reached scale”.
NEPAD and GAIN have collaborated since 2003 on the development of CAADP and the NEPAD Nutrition Lens.
In September last year, at the MDG Review Summit in New York, a new international framework for tackling malnutrition, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Roadmap, was widely endorsed by implementing agencies and donors.
With this agreement, GAIN and NEPAD will assess existing policies, practices and capacities in agriculture, nutrition and food security. The two partners will also take the lead in engaging private sector, donors and national decision makers and coordinate action in expanding access to more nutritious food.
GAIN, a Swiss foundation, is an alliance driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. It mobilises public-private partnerships and provides financial and technical support to deliver nutritious foods to people most at risk of malnutrition.
Created in 2002 at a special session of the UN General Assembly on children, GAIN delivers improved nutrition to close to 400 million people, half of whom are women and children, in more than 25 countries.
-0- PANA AR/SEG 25Jan2011