Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (02 July 2022)

UNICEF disclosed Ethiopia’s new multi-sectoral nutrition program entitled, ‘Addressing Maternal Malnutrition, Child Wasting and Stunting in Ethiopia,’ in a press release posted on July 01. The project has 4 financiers (Power of Nutrition, Eleanor Crook Foundation, The END Fund, and the Rotary International), 3 implementing partners (Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and Action Against Hunger), and will be executed across 10 regions of the country.

Over the last two decades, Ethiopia has seen a steady decline in the prevalence of stunting, from 58 percent in 2000 to 37 percent in 2019. Regardless of this progress, more than 5.8 million children under the age of five are stunted, and 1.2 million are wasting (too thin for height, due to severe malnutrition). The average prevalence of stunting in developing countries is 25%, placing Ethiopia among the countries with the highest number of stunted children under the age of five on the planet.

In alignment with Ethiopia’s vision to accelerate the reduction of stunting and end child malnutrition by 2030, this program is expected to reach at least 1 million pregnant women and 3 million children with vital health and nutrition services within 5 years. In the long run, it may strengthen Ethiopia’s health and food systems and promote healthier, more productive communities.

The program will incorporate several components, including:

  • Improving the delivery of maternal nutrition services,
  • Increasing coverage of the high-impact interventions for the prevention of wasting and stunting, including promoting infant and young child feeding practices, introducing deworming for children 12-23 months,
  • Leveraging existing government-led innovations, including the use of Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS) among pregnant women and egg powder for improved diets among children.
  • Generating evidence through operational research and scaling simplified approaches in the management of wasting.
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