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26 July 2010: Japanese company committed to fight malnutrition in Zanzibar through partnership with UNICEF Tanzania

Zanzibar, 26 July 2010 – Itoham Foods Inc., a Japanese based food company is visiting Unguja and Pemba to assess progress on nutrition programmes it is funding through a partnership with UNICEF Tanzania.

During its visit, the Japanese delegation (compromising of Itoham managers and Japan National Committee for UNICEF staff) will be meeting with government counterparts and other stakeholders in Pemba and Zanzibar and will visit health facilities and communities which are benefitting from Itoham funds to witness the impact of their contribution on individuals and their communities since their first visit in October 2009. The delegation will also explore future working relations between the Japan National Committee, Itoham and UNICEF Tanzania in the areas of nutrition focusing on Zanzibar.

Zanzibar has witnessed a remarkable reduction of malnutrition among children who are under-five years from the 1990's to 2004/2005 in terms of stunting, underweight and wasting. However, managing malnutrition continues to be huge challenge on the Island.  Zanzibar has the highest acute malnutrition rate of all regions in Tanzania at 6.1 percent compared to national average of 3 percent.

Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is the deadliest form of malnutrition, with 0.7 percent (an estimated 2,160 children over a one year period) children in Zanzibar suffering from the condition. Up to 50 percent of children with SAM will die if they do not receive correct treatment.

As part of its support to child survival and development efforts, the Japan National Committee for UNICEF in close partnership with Itoham, a Japan based company that manufactures and sells processed food products, has been partially funding the UNICEF Tanzania programme for the reduction and treatment of acute malnutrition among children in Unguja and Pemba. To date Itoham has contributed USD 386,650.

Following Itoham’s previous visit to the Islands in October 2009, the company managed to raise an additional USD230,650 for the nutrition programme. Their additional support has been used to increase the target population from children under two to all children under five years as well as increase coverage of the programme to cover all health facilities in the Islands.

UNICEF Tanzania acting Representative, Mohamed El Munir Safieldin commends Itoham for its strong commitment to fight malnutrition in Zanzibar.

“Itoham has shown a very strong commitment to the children of Zanzibar and Pemba and UNICEF Tanzania is proud to be working in close partnership with them. Their contribution will go a long way to help further reduce the rates of malnutrition on the Islands.”

Itoham has been a corporate donor for the Japan National Committee for UNICEF since 2003 through employee donations and fundraising. To commemorate its 80th anniversary, Itoham began a three-year “Project for Tanzania” in 2008, donating a portion of its product sales (sausage and hamburger steak) through the Japan National Committee every September and October.

UNICEF Tanzania Nutrition Manager, Harriet Torlesse, remarked that Itoham support will enable the Government of Zanzibar to scale-up services for severe acute malnutrition, and ensure that all children have access to life-saving treatment. Despite the significant progress, however, Torlesse also pointed out challenges that need to be overcome in Zanzibar in order to prevent children becoming acutely malnourished in the first place.

“The next challenge is infant and young child feeding. We are finding that poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices underlie many of the cases of severe acute malnutrition. It is therefore crucial that parents, caregivers and communities have access to information and support to enable them to improve feeding practices.”

Itoham plans to commence its third fundraising campaign in September 2010 and the target is to raise more than USD200,000 for the nutrition programme.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments

For additional information, please contact: 
Jacqueline Namfua, +255 22 2196627,

Sara Cameron, +255 22 2196634,



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