Addis Ababa July 19, 2017 Ethiopia has made a significant reduction in child malnutrition for children aged 6 to 23 months, according to United Nations International Children’s and Emergency Fund.
In a consultative workshop on improving complimentary feeding for children that opened today, UNICEF Representative Siddig Ibrahim said Ethiopia has reduced child malnutrition from 58 percent in 2000 to 38 percent in 2016.
The Representative attributed the progress to the government’s commitment to ending child stunting and malnutrition.
According to him, Ethiopia is committed to further reducing stunting among children, which is a priority to ensure the wellbeing of children and sustained economic growth.
“As we continued our joint effort to make child malnutrition history in Ethiopia, we must continue to invest in robust and effective government system”, Ibrahim said.
Director of Maternal and Child Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ephrem Tekle said the period from 6-8 months when children transit from exclusive breastfeeding to crop-based complimentary feeding are critical.
“As these periods are crucial for the healthy growth of children, the government has been engaged in community mobilization works through health and agriculture extension programs to reduce child malnutrition”, he added.
The Director pointed out that monthly child malnutrition monitoring program and feeding children suffering from stunting is also one of the strategies that has been implemented to improve the complimentary feeding practice throughout the country.
Even though the country has attained results in feeding practices and complimentary foods for children from 6-23 months, progress has so far been slow, he stressed.
Lack of coherence between the government and the partnership has partially contributed to lower results in improving children’s health, according to Dr. Ephrem.
According to a study conducted by UNICEF, an estimated 5.7 million children are stunted in Ethiopia due to the combined effects of poor malnutrition, repeated infection and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.
Government sector representatives, UN agencies, NGOs and donor organizations are in attendance of the three-day workshop.
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