On March 23, 2023, Food and Nutrition Strategy baseline survey

On March 23, 2023, Food and Nutrition Strategy baseline survey

On March 23, 2023, Food and Nutrition Strategy baseline survey high-level dissemination workshop was held at Hayat Regency, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

The Food and Nutrition Strategy Baseline Survey: High-level Dissemination Workshop, organized by the Ethiopian Public Health Institute /EPHI/ in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and other partners, launched on March 23, 2023 at the Hyatt Regency in Addis Ababa.

The key objectives of the survey were to understand the current prevalence of malnutrition among women, children under five years of age, school-age children, and adolescents; to identify gaps in nutrition service delivery; and to determine micronutrient as well as agricultural soil nutrient statuses. The survey covered over 16,000 households with both national and sub-national representatives. The preliminary results of this survey are now being presented in the presence of over 200 participants, including senior government officials from various ministries, officials from development partner organizations, and researchers from different research institutes and universities.

Some of the survey findings show that there has been a remarkable reduction in the overall malnutrition status of the country since 2000, but those problems remain a major public health concern today as well. The key indicators of food and nutrition have not been improving over the last few years.

The stunting prevalence for under -5- year- old children at the national level is still high at 39 percent, which means an absolute number of about 5 million children were stunted and 1.5 million or 11 percent of under -5- year- old children were wasted. Over 6.3 million children were affected by any form of malnutrition (under or over-nutrition) at the country level. The proportion of stunted children is higher in the rural community, and there is also regional disparity. Early initiation of breastfeeding (initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth) has shown a slight improvement from 72% (in 2019) to 77%, and exclusive breastfeeding has increased from 59% to 61%.  Further, only eight percent of children aged 6 to 23 months consumed the minimum recommended 5 out of 8 food groups. Overall, 47% of children were in severe food poverty, meaning they consumed 2 or fewer food groups a day. The survey also reported low production diversity in all regions.

The study also found high micronutrient deficiencies in all regions. Over half of the women of reproductive age, and adolescent girls, and young children were affected by one or more micronutrient deficiencies in all regions. For example, in Addis Ababa, 7 women/girls from 10 had low Vitamin D status, and in the Somali region, 1 of 2 women/girls was anemic. Thus, the survey indicated various intervention strategies, such as fortification and strengthening the existing Health and Agriculture Extension Program service delivery.

This report provides robust data on the food and nutritional status of women, children, and adolescents and will inform the implementation of the strategy across sectors. This report helps identify national programmatic priorities and the need to accelerate multi-sectoral responses and initiatives to improve food and nutrition security in Ethiopia, including large-scale food fortification, micronutrient supplementation programs, and delivery of essential services for food and nutrition.

In the dissemination workshop, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia emphasized the importance of a strong and coordinated effort with all sector organizations, partners, and the private sector to address malnutrition in the country.