Nutrition International and the Government of Ethiopia join forces to combat malnutrition in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, May 15, 2018 – Nutrition International was joined by the Government of Ethiopia and the Government of Canada to recognize more than 20 years of cooperation to combat malnutrition in the country. The gathering formally marked the organization’s shift from the Micronutrient Initiative to Nutrition International in Ethiopia, and provided an opportunity to explore further cooperation.

“The Government of Ethiopia is committed to ending undernutrition in Ethiopia by 2030,” said Dr. Ephrem Tekle, Director, Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Directorate, Federal Ministry of Health. “Nutrition International’s support has been essential in helping us deliver better nutrition to our population and we look forward to working closely with them to achieve SDG objectives. The future success of our country is dependent on improving the health and well-being of all our citizens.”

Ethiopia has made tremendous progress in achieving many of the Millennium Development Goals, including reducing poverty and child mortality. However, malnutrition remains high; the prevalence of stunting stands at 38% and nearly one in four adult women suffer from anaemia. Through the National Nutrition Program (NNP II), the Food and Nutrition Policy (FNP) and the Seqota Declaration, the government is taking concrete steps to reduce the burden of malnutrition.

“This government has demonstrated remarkable nutrition leadership, becoming an example to follow for nations around the world,” said Joel Spicer, President and CEO of Nutrition International. “While much progress has been made, there is an urgency to scaling up financing and action so that all Ethiopians can get the nutrition they need to live healthy and productive lives. Working with the Government of Ethiopia, and with support from the Governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, and other development partners, we will help to ensure that women and girls – as well as men and boys – have the nutrition they need to reach their full potential.”

Since 2005, when Nutrition International opened a country office in Addis Ababa, the Government of Canada has invested more than CAD $90 M in Ethiopia through Nutrition International. In cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Health, Nutrition International and the Government of Canada continue to improve the nutrition status of Ethiopia’s most vulnerable citizens, including adolescent girls, pregnant women, children and newborns.

These programs include providing weekly iron-folic acid supplements to adolescent girls to combat anaemia, improving antenatal care, supporting the government to scale up its food fortification programs, and promoting optimal breast and complementary feeding to improve the health of mothers and infants. Nutrition International also currently supplies the entire country with vitamin A supplements. In the last five years, one million pregnant women have received the recommended course of iron-folic acid, and in the last decade 100,000 child deaths have been averted due to Nutrition International interventions.

“Nutrition International is a global organization created by Canada more than 25 years ago. Through its work, Canada is proud to contribute to the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts to improve the health and nutrition of its people, in particular for women and girls.” said His Excellency Philip Baker, Canada’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti. “Nutrition is an essential foundation for building a society that is healthy and thriving. And when one country’s population is healthy and thriving, the rest of the world benefits.”

The Micronutrient Initiative became Nutrition International globally in 2017 to reflect its expanded scope of work and increased number of interventions as it seeks to combat malnutrition in countries throughout Africa and Asia. While the name of the organization has changed, the commitment to improve the lives of the world’s vulnerable populations remains.