Minister of Health Jappie Mhango joined his counterparts from across sub-Saharan Africa in adopting a strategic plan to reduce malnutrition at the World Health Organisation (WHO) summit held in Congo Brazaville.
Mhango, who attended the summit with other senior ministry officials last week, said Malawi is on track to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030, adding government has introduced various measures to achieve it.
In a written response on Tuesday, Ministry of Health (MoH) spokesperson Joshua Malango outlined some of the measures that government is implementing to fight malnutrition.
He said: “Govt has now recruited principal nutrition officers in all districts to ensure that initiatives on nutrition are managed effectively and efficiently. Again,, we are almost through with the Food and Nutrition Bill, to be presented to Cabinet soon.”
During the summit last Wednesday, the ministers also adopted a new Regional Strategy for Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response to cover the years 2020 to 2030, which seeks to ensure that countries are prepared for and can cope with major outbreaks such as Ebola.
Malango said government now has a multisectoral “one health forum” where different ministries share knowledge and information on outbreaks.
“We now have staff at Public Health Institute to work on Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response [IDSR]. Other institutions such as Society of Medical Doctors have already started working with MoH on IDSR, especially on Ebola preparedness,” he said.
A statement issued after the event quotes WHO regional director for Africa Dr MatshidisoMoeti as having said the malnutrition plan outlines the accelerated action that African countries must take to end malnutrition by 2030.
She said: “The WHO Secretariat will be developing and implementing a resource mobilisation plan, supporting research and mounting high-level advocacy for increased investment to meet the malnutrition challenges in our region.”
According to WHO, the number of undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 181 million in 2010 to 222 million in 2016.