Malawi on track in reducing undernutrition

…but there are concerns over increase in overweight cases

Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda says Malawi has registered significant improvements in nutrition indicators with the percentage of stunted children in the country being reduced to 33 percent.

Chiponda made the remarks on Monday as the ministry is preparing to launch the Scaling up Nutrition 3.0 on 2nd September at BICC.

According to the minister, stunting was reduced from 47 percent to 37 and recent data from Integrated Household Survey shows a further reduction to 33%.

Similarly, micronutrient deficiencies have also reduced. Cases of Vitamin A deficiency have dropped from 22% to 4% while Iron deficiency among women of reproductive age has dropped from 52% to 22%.

“This shows that Malawi is on track in reducing undernutrition and we are moving towards attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals which is aiming at zero hunger and malnutrition by 2030.

“It is worth noting that despite the improvement in other indicators, stunting remains significantly high according to World Health Organization cut-off points. Malawi is currently facing a triple burden of malnutrition. We are registering an increase in other forms of malnutrition such as overweight at 21% and zinc and selenium deficiencies at 60% and over 30% respectively,” she said.

She therefore called for collective efforts to ensure that every child is given a good start in life for them to grow and reach their full potential.

Chiponda said collective efforts from different stakeholders can help and promote optimal nutrition and healthy lifestyles for adolescents, mothers and the general population for sustainable human wellbeing and economic development.

She also noted that there is a need to intensify social behaviour change communication, promotion of diversified diets, and healthy lifestyle.

The ministry will launch the revised Nutrition Education and Communication Strategy and Eat Well to Live Well guide which are fundamental tools for informing, educating and promoting adoption of appropriate dietary practices and healthy lifestyle to improve the nutrition status and wellbeing of Malawians.

The theme of the day is Unite to End All Forms of Malnutrition for Sustainable Human well-being and Economic Development.

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