Ethiopia

Ethiopia Launched a Joint Programme on Children, Food Security and Nutrition with a Munificent Contribution Received by the Spanish Government

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23 December 2009, Addis Ababa: Today, Ethiopia concluded a one and a half day national inception workshop by launching a joint programme on children, food security and nutrition by Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Federal Ministry of Health, the UN Resident Coordinator's Office, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and FAO with a generous contribution of 7 million USD received from the Spanish government.

The workshop that was underway starting 22 December at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) aims to provide in-depth information about overall objectives and key focus areas of the joint programme on children food security and nutrition to ensure active participation, support and commitment from key stakeholders during the planning and implementation processes both at federal and regional levels. It also aims to accelerate the implementation of the National Nutrition Programme (NNP) of the Government of Ethiopia by filling its existing gaps and giving priority to achieving MDG's nutrition goal.

The funding was received through the UNDP Spain MDG Achievement Fund and will support the implementation of the National Nutrition Programme through a joint programme by UNICEF and WFP as the main participating agencies and FAO and WHO as supporting agencies under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health.

The three-year joint programme, with the implementation period from 2009 - 2012, was developed through a close consultation of the United Nations Country Team with the Government of Ethiopia including the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) and the lead government coordinator of the programme, Federal Ministry of Health. The programme will be implemented in 16 food insecure woredas of Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and SNNPR targeting 156,000 under-two children and 96,500 pregnant and lactating women in the communities, as well as 14,640 under-five children with severe acute malnutrition and 10,360 malnourished pregnant/lactating women. The pilot on local complementary food production will identify households coping with acute food insecurity in two selected woredas and support them through 40 women's groups.

The joint programme includes roll-out and sustainability of Outpatient Treatment (OTP) services for severe acute malnutrition, Community-Based Nutrition (CBN) interventions, pilot on local production and utilization of complementary food and strengthening the nutrition information system and monitoring and evaluation mechanism.

The expected outcomes from the joint programme are improvement of management of children with acute malnutrition at the health post and community level, development of feeding and caring behaviors/practices for children and mothers make progress on the quality utilization of locally available complementary and supplementary food and upgrading the nutrition information system.

About the Situation of Nutrition in Ethiopia

Malnutrition is one of the main public health problems of children and women in Ethiopia. Food insecurity, frequent disease, poor hygiene and environment, and improper infant and child caring and feeding practices, and low access and utilisation of services are all major determinants of the risks of child malnutrition in Ethiopia.

The level of malnutrition among children is unacceptably high and is implicated as an underlying cause in more than half of all child deaths.

The Demographic Health Survey from 2005 shows that 47% of children are still stunted, 38% are underweight and 11% are wasted. Regarding women, 27% are chronically malnourished and three in ten women aged 15-19 are undernourished.

The total financing requirement for the NNP is estimated as USD 365 million. While partners and donors have so far committed approximately USD 230 million in total, the current funding gap remains USD 130 million.

While there have been some improvements in the indicators of malnutrition among children under five, the country has to improve the rate of progress to achieve the target 2 of MDG 1, a reduction of underweight among children under five.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Ahmed Emano, Director, Public Relations Directorate, Federal Ministry of Health,
Tel (off) 0115518031, (cell) 0911388946 email:ahmed_emano@yahoo.com

Dr. Kerida McDonald, Chief, Communication Cluster, UNICEF Ethiopia.
Tel: 0115184 000, email: kmcdonald@unicef.org