Addis Ababa November 07/2017 Ethiopia is preparing its first-ever National Food and Nutrition Policy to fulfill the nation's ambition to end malnutrition and stunting by 2030, the Ministry of Health said.
Nutrition case team coordinator at the Ministry Birara Melesse told ENA that the policy focuses on reducing malnutrition, stunting and other nutrition related problems among children and mothers.
The policy will also focus on complimentary feeding for children under five as these periods are crucial for children’s healthy growth, he mentioned.
The policy, being prepared on the bases of the national nutrition strategy, and program that have been under implementation since 2008, will be effective after two months.
By implementing the strategy and program, the nation has gained commendable results in reducing malnutrition; however, a policy gap remains to be the major shortfall in the area.
According to Birara, the formulation of the policy is intended to narrow the gap that is already identified.
“This policy envisages a legal framework in which the rights of children is fully respected with a provision of adequate nutritional nourishment which will enable them to attain normal growth thereby contributing to the well being of the child and its rights to education building their capacity to grow as responsible citizens who can contribute to the technological development and other spheres of nation building in their country”, he said.
He said the policy will provide a legal framework that supports the works that the country has been engaging to improve food and nutrition system in Ethiopia.
It will also help to coordinate bodies that are engaged in the implementation of the food strategy and program; and accountable in promoting food safety and quality in the country, he said.
The policy will also help to effectively coordinate efforts of non-governmental organizations engaged in the promotion of nutrition down to the lowest administrative levels.
Alive and Thrive is one of the stakeholders working with the government on improving nutrition in the country.
The organization’s Ethiopia Project Director Dr. Yewulsew Abebe said the organization is working in supporting the national nutrition program mostly on infants and toddlers.
“We have been working from the regional level to zonal and woreda level down to the health extension workers and related to women development armies we work with them to increase their knowledge ”
The organization undertakes its activities aimed at promoting nutrition in four populous regional states – Amhara; Oromia; Southern Nations, nationalities, and Peoples; and Tigray.
It delivered innovative approaches towards improving feeding practices in three countries, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Viet Nam from 2009 to 2014, during its first five years program.
In its second five year program, from 2014-2017, it is working to enhance infant and toddlers feeding and complimentary feeding practices.
By doing this the organization is aspiring to support Ethiopia’s efforts in ending malnutrition and stunting by 2030, which is part of the SDG targets and the country’s second five-year plan.
According to the Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey (EDHS), the country has managed to reduce child malnutrition from 58 percent in 2000 to 38 percent in 2016.