Malnutrition in Malawi
According to Malawi’s National Statistical Office (2014), the under 5 population is estimated at 2.9 million children. Over 142,000 of them suffer from acute malnutrition and 42.4%, or 1.2 million, are chronically malnourished.
This situation has worsen during the 2015/16 period due to the severe food and nutrition insecurity situation in the country.
According to a recent Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) Malawi report, 10.3% of GDP is lost annually to child undernutrition and 23% of all child mortality cases are associated with undernutrition.
To tackle this issue, Malawi’s National Nutrition Policy 2016 – 2020 (yet to be launched) has set the following key target policy outcomes:
- Reducing the number of children under 5 who are stunted by 20%
- Reduce rate of anaemia in children and women of reproductive age by 25%
- Reduce rate of infants born low birth weight by 15%
- Reduce to and maintain at less than 5% the wasting in children, adolescents and adults
- Increase funding, commitment, and accountability for nutrition
It has also defined 8 Policy Priority Areas (PPA), two of which linked to combating malnutrition:
Policy Priority 1: Prevention of under nutrition - private sector investments in the production, processing, and marketing of high-quality nutritious foods including complementary foods;
Policy Priority 3: Treatment and control of acute Malnutrition - government ownership and financing of interventions on the management of acute malnutrition through a lifecycle approach that targets children, adolescents and adults.