NEPAD, GAIN sign Memorandum of Understanding to reduce malnutrition in Africa

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to significantly contribute to reducing malnutrition in Africa. The agreement was co-signed in Addis Ababa by Jay Naidoo, Chairman of GAIN, and Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD, during a meeting of NEPAD's Steering Committee.

"We know solutions exist to reduce malnutrition through a number of simple, targeted and cost-effective interventions," said Jay Naidoo, Chairman of GAIN. "The first 1,000 days of life – from conception to age two – are a critical window of opportunity. Fortified staples, promotion of breastfeeding, and introduction of complementary foods after six months of age are some of the interventions available to break this cycle of malnutrition."

"Malnutrition has multiple causes, requiring multi-sector action across the food security, agriculture, social protection, health and educational domains," said Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD. "This poses a significant delivery challenge for national governments that our new collaboration with GAIN will help overcome."

The aim of this agreement is to develop a five-year joint program to support national investment programs, fully integrating nutrition security into the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

"Sixty-nine percent of GAIN's 400 million current beneficiaries – approximately 275 million – are Africans who benefit from food fortification, Infant and Young Child Nutrition programs and salt iodization," added Naidoo. "GAIN aims to more than double the number of beneficiaries by 2015."

NEPAD and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) have collaborated since 2003 on the development of CAADP and the NEPAD Nutrition Lens. In September 2010 at the Review Summit in New York of the Millennium Development Goals, a new international framework for addressing malnutrition, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Roadmap, was widely endorsed by implementing agencies and donors. The SUN approach reflects a shift in global attention towards malnutrition, acknowledging a major inhibitor to reaching the MDGs is poor nutrition, particularly in the 1,000 day window from conception to two years of age.

With this agreement, GAIN and NEPAD will assess existing policies, practices and capacities in agriculture, nutrition, and food security in African countries. GAIN and NEPAD will work closely with the private sector, better integrating local businesses in the efforts to expand access to food and providing higher quality products.

GAIN and NEPAD will also reach out to donors and national decision makers in agriculture and nutrition, implementing a multi-stakeholder approach resulting in nutrition responsive product development, program design, and policy formulation in line with CAADP.  The objective is supporting national governments on making real progress in overcoming malnutrition and improving outcomes on key indicators such as maternal and infant mortality, stunting, and wasting.

GAIN and NEPAD will also mobilize resources at the international, regional and national level for support of the priority food and nutrition security programs from private sector, government and other available sources.

In support of their policy and implementation activities, GAIN and NEPAD will jointly undertake advocacy and public awareness campaigns including efforts around the annual African Food and Nutrition Security Day on October 30. Both organizations will work together to establish a coalition of key thinkers and actors in Africa to accelerate implementation of the African Union food and nutrition security agenda.

In Africa, one in four people suffer from malnutrition, twenty-five percent of children are undernourished and forty percent are stunted. Fifty-three percent of pregnant women in Africa are anemic. "Malnutrition is costing millions of lives, in particular women and children. It also prevents millions of people from contributing to the continent's growth and development," said Jay Naidoo. "Nutrition is directly linked to achieving the MDGs, including poverty reduction, child mortality, maternal health, AIDS and many other infectious diseases." According to the World Bank, it is estimated that countries lose up to three percent of GDP due to malnutrition.


Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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