Lack of coordination by players in the nutrition sector is said to be hampering efforts in improving child malnutrition in Malawi.
This was noted at a meeting on Nutrition Embedded Evaluation Project (NEEP) in Lilongwe which brought together nutrition experts to brainstorm on what needs to be done to address the problem of malnutrition in children.
Different players at the meeting observed that multi-sectoral coordination was a huge challenge that is being faced in addressing malnutrition more especially at the top level.
Save the Children Fund Country Director Tina Yu said the meeting’s aim was to reflect on the on the role of integrated agriculture-nutrition intervention not only in remedying hunger and also address the issue of quality.
The Country Director added that the meeting was instrumental since it brought together various players to commit themselves to multi-sectoral approaches and ensure they work and coordinate better on issues to do with malnutrition.
In his presentation Alexander Kalimbira who is Head Department of Human Nutrition stated that though the country has registered tremendous progress on nutrition at national level, the number of malnourished children still remain high.
Kalambira expressed concern at the numbers adding that the country continues to spend more money in addressing the problem which would have been easy if there was collaboration among stakeholders.
According to statistics from the ministry of health, 10.3 % of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which stands at over $500 million is lost every year due to child under nutrition.
“As a country which already has numerous problems the money being lost could have been used to fund other activities,” Kalambira said.
Chief Director in the ministry of Agriculture Bright Kumwembe announced that as one way of addressing malnutrition the ministry will soon introduce a nutrition package in the Farm input subsidy program (Fisp) that will include legumes and sorghum targeting primary schools.
Currently the malnutrition status in children has dropped from 47 to 37 percent a situation experts say is encouraging but needs much more effort in order for the country to begin noticing the gains.