FAO, IFAD, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP and WHO step up joint efforts to combat child malnutrition in Sudan
Khartoum, 24 September 2013 - Six United Nations funds and agencies - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO) - today formalized their joint efforts to address malnutrition in Sudan by signing a Letter of Understanding. The LOU sets out the framework for achieving the overall goals of cooperation toward tackling malnutrition in Sudan.
The 2010 Sudan Household Health Survey (Summary Report published by the Federal Ministry of Health, July 2011) shows that 35 per cent of children under the age of five in Sudan are chronically stunted (low weight for age); and 16 per cent are wasted (low weight for height). Both conditions reflect malnutrition, and stunting in particular can lead to children’s irreversible, impaired development. In short, about one in three Sudanese children currently struggle with the immediate condition of malnutrition and face the prospects of its damaging, long-term effects.
The Letter of Understanding for Sudan is designed to scale up nutrition interventions and reinforce joint efforts to strengthen, coordinate and plan capacity building by national and sub national government actors.
The contribution of the UN through this LOU will include support in development of protocols, guidelines, and training aiming toward prevention of malnutrition in children; including malnutrition-induced deaths.
Interventions will use the latest research on child nutrition, including articles published in the Lancet in June 2013, according to which Sudan is one of 34 countries accounting for 90 per cent of the global burden of malnutrition. Interventions to prevent malnutrition will be strengthened, including support for exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age; continued breastfeeding beyond six months together with appropriate and nutritious food up to two years of age; food fortification with micronutrients; as well as micronutrient supplementation and treatment of severe malnutrition.
Malnutrition is a multi-facetted problem and requires multiple interventions in several sectors. In Agriculture, ensuring adequate production of nutritious foods and supporting small-holder farms are essential elements in the fight against malnutrition. In Infrastructures, access to safe water and sanitation is critical to safeguard children’s nutritional status against diseases that could derail it. In Education, policies in support of appropriate feeding for young learners are needed. In Health, women’s own nutrition and access to quality care and services is essential during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in the first few years of a child’s life to lay his or her nutritional foundations for life-long healthy development. Similarly, young infant feeding practices as well as surveillance for malnutrition and food security are important elements in the fight against malnutrition.
Ultimately, nutrition is a sound investment choice for national development. Sustained investment in nutrition-related services will have high returns in terms of a stronger and healthier population that will be more productive and better able to withstand shocks.
For more information, please contact:
- FAO, Dimah Gasim, Dimah.Abdulkarim@fao.org,
- IFAD, Mohammad Yousif, firstname.lastname@example.org,
- UNFPA, Awad Taha, email@example.com,
- UNICEF, Lone Hvass, firstname.lastname@example.org
- WFP, Amor Almagro, email@example.com,
- WHO, Christina Banluta, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com