Multi-Sectoral Intervention Vital to Accelerate Reduction of Stunting: Researchers

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Addis Ababa November 10/11/2018 Ethiopia needs multi-sectoral intervention to accelerate the reduction of stunting, according to researchers.

Despite Ethiopia’s remarkable achievements in reducing stunting to the lowest possible, its prevalence is still high by international standards.

Speaking to ENA, Dr. Kalle Hirvonen, Research Fellow at Ethiopian Strategic Support Program of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said Ethiopia needs multi-sectoral approach and the involvement of various actors in the fight to eliminate stunting.

Although malnutrition at a national level has declined from 58 percent in 2000 to 38 at present, the factors producing this change are not fully effective, the researcher added.

“If we look at the Demographic Health Survey of Ethiopia, the country has made great strides in reducing malnutrition at a national level, which contributed to the decline by 20 percent in the case of stunting during the last 16 years,” he said.

However, 38 percent stunting prevalence is very high, Kalle stated, adding that many children are undernourished chronically and this is “unacceptable internationally.”

Recommending for diversified and balanced diet supply to children, the researcher said Ethiopia has to translate evidence into action by participating in multi-stakeholder nutrition improvement.

Ethiopia has been implementing Sustainable Under-nutrition Reduction in Ethiopia (SURE) program, the first government-led multi-sectoral program for improving nutrition outcomes, across the country, particularly focusing on health and agriculture sectors, it was learned.

Though Ethiopia is witnessing encouraging results, much needs to be done to accelerate the rate of stunting reduction, Center for Food Science and Nutrition Director Kaleab Baye said.

Policy dialogue and coordination of researches are critical to enable policy makers have information-based decision making process on nutrition, he added.

According to Kaleab, “researchers should bridge the gaps in stunting reduction by giving evidence-based information and findings.”

Ethiopian government is working to eliminate stunting through community-based nutrition (CBN) to address inadequate complementary feeding and household dietary diversity through infant and young child.

The goal is to reduce stunting by up to 26 percent by 2020 in the rural of Oromia, Amhara, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ and Tigray regions.