Addis Ababa [Ethiopia], July 2 (ANI/Xinhua): The Ethiopian government and its partners have launched a new multi-sectoral nutrition initiative that envisages reducing maternal malnutrition, child wasting and stunting in the country.
The newly launched program, dubbed "Addressing Maternal Malnutrition, Child Wasting and Stunting in Ethiopia," will be implemented through a partnership agreement between the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Action Against Hunger.
The UN Children's Fund, in a statement issued late Friday, said the 30 million U.S. dollars program will reach at least one million pregnant women and three million children with vital health and nutrition services during its five years period.
The initiative 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.
Meseret Zelalem, Director of Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition at the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, said the program is in line with the Ethiopian government's commitment to reducing stunting and ending child malnutrition in the East African country.
"The government of Ethiopia has a strong commitment to accelerate the reduction of stunting and ending child malnutrition by 2030 as a key strategy for human capital development and inclusive economic development," a UNICEF statement quoted Zelalem as saying.
Ethiopia has experienced a steady reduction in the prevalence of stunting over the past two decades from 58 per cent in 2000 to 37 per cent in 2019, according to UNICEF.
However, despite the progress, more than 5.8 million children under five years are affected by stunting and 1.2 million are affected by wasting, it said.
The UN Children's Fund said improving maternal nutrition is important to ensure women's health and achieve better pregnancy and birth outcomes in Ethiopia.
UNICEF stressed that given the scale of malnutrition in the country, there is an urgent need to accelerate the provision of vital nutrition services for vulnerable people. (ANI/Xinhua)