On 1 November 2021, The Power of Nutrition announced a partnership with the Eleanor Crook Foundation, The END Fund, and Rotary International to fund a new multisectoral nutrition programme in Ethiopia. By pooling resources and working through The Power of Nutrition, the funding partners’ investments are being match-funded to create a total $30 million, five-year programme.
Malnutrition is a major public health concern in Ethiopia. The country has one of the highest global burdens of stunting (too short for age due to prolonged malnutrition) in under-five’s – around 40%, compared to 22% globally. Despite progress to reduce malnutrition through multistakeholder action in recent years, prevalence levels remain high – with 5.9 million children affected by stunting in 2020 and 1.2 million affected by wasting (too thin for height, due to severe malnutrition). These levels are likely to increase due to COVID-19, the impacts of climate change and likely prolonged conflict in the country. This year, UNICEF warned that over 100,000 children in the Tigray region could die of causes related to hunger by 2022, and half of pregnant and breastfeeding women were severely malnourished.
Given the scale of malnutrition in Ethiopia there is an urgent need to accelerate the provision of vital health and nutrition services for vulnerable people. This new programme will address the many drivers of short- and long-term malnutrition by combining multiple interventions in a holistic approach to strengthen systems and scale the coverage of high-impact health and nutrition services.
The programme will incorporate several components, including the prevention and treatment of wasting, promoting infant and young child feeding practices, and integrating deworming and Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS) into routine services for effective, sustainable approaches to improve women and children’s overall health and life opportunities. It will also fund research on cutting-edge themes to improve the quality and coverage of interventions for wasting.
The programme will be implemented by UNICEF and Action Against Hunger, working closely with the Government of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, and pooling the expertise in public health, development, humanitarian work and government advocacy of the Eleanor Crook Foundation, The END Fund, and Rotary International. “The effects of malnutrition on a child’s physical and mental development can profoundly and permanently limit the trajectory of their lives. When an entire generation suffers from stunting and wasting, families and whole communities and nations are impacted by a catastrophic loss of potential,” said John Hewko, Rotary International CEO. “As we’ve learned from our global effort to eradicate polio, we know that by leveraging each of our strengths, we can make a significant impact together to give children in Ethiopia access to nutrition and a chance for a full and healthy future.”
Ellen Agler, CEO at The END Fund said “Our collaborative nutrition partnership in Ethiopia is testament to what can be achieved when we leverage our collective resources to foster healthier communities. Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) diminish nutritional absorption and lead to stunted growth. Conversely, malnourished individuals are more susceptible to NTDs which affect their ability to live healthy and productive lives. Our joint efforts to scale nutrition services and protect communities from the risks of NTDs through deworming, will help to unlock the full potential of underserved populations in Ethiopia.”
Over the five years, the programme will reach at least one million pregnant women and three million children with vital health and nutrition services. It is also expected to promote long-term improvements to the population’s nutrition as well as socio-economic indicators by making Ethiopia’s health and food systems more resilient and encouraging healthier, more productive communities.
- Mohammed, S.H., Habtewold, T.D., Arero, A.G. et al. The state of child nutrition in Ethiopia: an umbrella review of systematic review and meta-analysis reports. BMC Pediatr 20, 404 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-020-02301-8
This press release was reproduced with permission from The Power of Nutrition.