FAO CHIEF TECHNICAL ADVISOR FOR AFRICA SPEAKS ON SENSIBLE NUTRITION SYSTEM
By James Achanyi-fontem, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Technical Advisor, Mawuli Sablah , spoke on Nutrition Mainstreaming in Africa during a shareholder value convening in Accra, Ghana on November 25, 2016 and attributed 45% of global deaths of infants to malnutrition of children in Africa. She said, global distribution of deaths among children less than 5 years of age caused in 2013 was due to diarrhoea (postnatal 9%), Pneumonia (neonatal 13%), Malaria 7%, Injuries 5%, Meningitis 2%, AIDS 2%, Measles 2% and other diseases 16%.
She presented some forms of malnutrition in children including low-weight for height; argue malnutrition resulting to thinness of the child and chronic malnutrition resulting to stunting for age compared to normal growth. According to the FAO expert, the cycle of poverty starts from the first years of life. The first year launch the base of human capital. Feeding in the first 1000 days of a child is imperative for the development of the child’s apprenticeship for future gains. Socio-emotional competence predicts the success and productivity of the child and economic growth alone does not guarantee for eradication of chronic malnutrition of a child.
Well-nourished children have well developed brains, while malnourished children have retarded growth. In Cameroon, 32.6 % of children below the age of 5 tears are stunted. The target of health projects around the world today is to eradicate malnutrition in all its forms.
Mawuli Sablah informed participants at the sha4ed value convening that Africa countries face problems of malnutrition and need to invest intelligently to reverse the situation. To start with, the countries have to invest in production ingredients I their plantations, invest in transformation, storage, transport and the market chain.advertise and educate the populations on brands toencourage consumption of locally produced foods.
The challenges in the food chain focus on production, availability, access and use of the final products. Looking at this in detail, we realise that there is pressure on on natural resources, climate change, demograghic growth, rapid urbanisation and other factors influencing progress on human health and nutrition, exploitation fo natural resources, civil agitations and competition. All these problems made African countries not to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
As we enter the period of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), counties have to work to improve on issues related to stunting, wasting, over-weight, anemia, exclusive breastfeeding, adult over-weight, obesity and diabetes. Countries have to act on factors for the amelioration of nutritional values through education and health, improvement of food and farming systems, water and hygiene, encorgaing women’s autonomy and social protection which all surround nutrition.
Initiatives and global engagements include reducing stunting to 10% and under-weight to 5% by 2025 according to the Malabo declaration. African leaders and decision makers have to change their ways of acting and invest more on nutrition.
In conclusion, mutual contributions for improving on food and nutrition systems require financial resources, good governance, engagement, appropriation and leadership, multi-sectored involvement, research and exploitation of data results.
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.