The Department of Nutrition has said stunted growth among children under the age of five across the country has been reduced to 40 percent from 48 percent in 2004.
Deputy director responsible for nutrition, Felix Pensulo Phiri, disclosed this in Lilongwe on Thursday during the opening of the Support for Nutrition Improvement (SNI) project.
Phiri, however, said the rate is still high compared to other countries.
Said Phiri: “We are now around 40 percent from 48 percent in 2004. These levels are still high and not acceptable. We are still ranked as one of the countries with high levels of stunting. We need to do more.”
He said government has put in place programmes such as the SNI, which was launched last year by President Joyce Banda.
“We want stunting levels to be reduced to around 20 percent by 2017. We have also developed nutrition development and communication strategy which we are rolling out in the entire districts,” he said.
Deputy director of administration in the department, Victor Sandikonda, said if not treated at early stage, stunting affects a person’s productivity later in life.
“Thus the project expects to enhance and scale up maternal and child nutritional service delivery, especially at community level,” he said.
The project is funded by the World Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency (Cida) and the Malawi Government.