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Thursday, 09 December 2010

EU-Africa summit urged to put nutrition at core of development

A global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has called on the European Union and African leaders to put nutrition at the heart of Africa’s development. The organization said Africa and EU must scale up nutrition investments as part of meeting UN anti-poverty goals."Both the EU and Africa must scale up nutrition investments as part of the development agenda. Malnutrition is costing millions of lives in Africa, in particular women and children. It also prevents millions of people from contributing to the Continent's growth and development," said Jay Naidoo, chair of GAIN Board. In Africa, one in four people suffer (OOTC:WLVTQ) from malnutrition, twenty- five percent of children are undernourished and forty percent are stunted. Fifty-three percent of pregnant women in Africa are anemic. Malnutrition is directly linked to achieving the MDGs, including poverty reduction, child mortality, maternal health, AIDS and many other infectious diseases. It is estimated that countries lose up to 3 percent of GDP due to malnutrition. "We know solutions exist to reduce malnutrition through a number of simple, targeted and cost-effective interventions" added Jay Naidoo. "The critical window of opportunity is the 1,000 days of life, from conception to two-years old. Fortified staples, the promotion of breastfeeding, complementary foods after 6 months of age are some of those interventions available to help break this cycle of malnutrition," Naidoo said. "Innovative partnerships also exist to mobilize the private sector, and we need to develop integrated strategies between nutrition, agriculture, food security and health."

Source: istockanalyst.com