Ghana and several African countries successfully reduce malnutrition-Report
Ghana is among several African countries that has shown success in reducing malnutrition over the last 15 years, according to a new report launched in Abidjan yesterday by the Malabo Montpellier Panel at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) currently underway.
The report from a group of noted African and international food security experts, analysed the policy decisions and actions that contributed to this achievement and draws out the lessons that policymakers, donors and other stakeholders can learn.
This is because the progress was driven in part by policy actions and interventions, and shows that the battle against malnutrition can be won.
Across Africa, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger dropped from 28% to 20% between 1990 and 2015, although the total number continues to increase due to rapid population growth.
Ghana, Senegal and Rwanda have all reduced the number of undernourished people and wasted and stunted children by more than 50%. Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Togo have achieved reductions of more than 40%.
Panel Co-chair, Ousmane Badiane said: “Much progress has been made, which is heartening. However, significant challenges remain. To achieve the aims of Malabo Declaration and African Union’s Agenda 2063, governments need to learn from the past successes and redouble their efforts to tackle the triple scourge of hunger, malnutrition and obesity on the continent. The report clearly demonstrates that progress is possible”.
Demographic changes and urbanisation are adding pressure on food systems to increase yields, at the same time as producing or diverse and nutritious foods. Critical threats include conflict and climate change-which delay progress or even reverse gains oin the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
The consumption of cheap, nutrient-poor food and reduced physical activity among the middle class is driving obesity levels. The estimated prevalence of childhood obesity is expected to reach 11% in 2025.
Joachim von Braun, Co-chair of the Panel said: “Governments are successful in combating malnutrition when they put it at the top of their agenda and implement programmes across departments in close collaboration with partners. Investment is needed in crisis prevention and programmes that build resilience against climate change”.
Recommendations include adopting a comprehensive policy on nutrition as top priority, setting up mechanisms to coordinate coherent agenda on nutrition across government and investing in crisis prevention and emergency intervention capacities to address the threat of conflict to malnutrition reduction.
The Malabo Montpellier Panel consists of 17 leading African and European experts in agriculture, ecology, nutrition, public policy and global development. It supports high-level evidence-based dialogue and policy choices that accelerate progress towards the goals set out in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the Malabo Declaration, and Sustainable Development Goals.
The Panel works with African governments and civil society organisations to provide access to data and analysis that facilitates the design and implementation of policies that enhance agriculture, food security and nutrition security.
The Panel is a successor to the Montpellier Panel created in 2010, and it puts greater emphasis on African initiatives, such as the Malabo Declaration’s expanded Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
It is hosted by the West and Central African Office of the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Bonn University and Imperial College London and is headquartered in Senegal.