Nutrition International releases key results from nutrition programs in Ethiopia

Group shot at dissemination workshop in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA – The results of Nutrition International’s programs in Ethiopia for the 2017-2018 year were presented at a dissemination and consultative workshop today. Key stakeholders attending Best Practices and Lessons Learned from Key Nutrition Interventions heard that, through efforts by the Federal Ministry of Health and Nutrition International, more than 10 million people have been reached with maternal and newborn, child and adolescent nutrition programs.

The Government of Ethiopia has committed to reducing malnutrition in the country and has introduced policies designed to help reach that goal. The Seqota Declaration, which committed the country to ending malnutrition by 2030, the National Nutrition Programs, and the Food and Nutrition Policy have built a conducive environment for the government and development partners to deliver necessary nutrition programs.

“The Government of Ethiopia is committed to ending undernutrition in Ethiopia by 2030,” said Federal Minister of Health Meseret Zelalem during the workshop. “Nutrition International’s support has been essential in helping us deliver better nutrition to our population and we look forward to working closely to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The future success of our country is dependent on improving the health and wellbeing of all citizens.”

Nutrition International has been working in Ethiopia since 2005. The organization’s current programs in the country, delivered in close partnership with the government, are designed to improve the health and nutrition of women, adolescent girls, pregnant women and newborns, and infants and young children.

“The Government of Ethiopia has demonstrated remarkable nutrition leadership, becoming an example to follow for nations around the world,” said Dr. Richard Pendame, regional director for Nutrition International in Africa. “While much progress had been made, there is an urgency to scale up financing and improve coverage of high-impact and low-cost nutrition interventions so that everyone in Ethiopia gets the good nutrition they need in order to live healthy and productive lives.”

Since 2005, the Government of Canada has invested more than CAD $54.95 million in Ethiopia through Nutrition International.

“Canada is proud to contribute to the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts to improve the health and nutrition of its people,” said Antoine Chevrier, Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia. “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.”

Nutrition International, in coordination with the Federal Ministry of Health and other partners, achieved the following key results in 2017-2018:

  1. Infant and young child nutrition: 107,219 infants were exclusively breastfed as a result of Nutrition International’s support, bringing the total number of infants exclusively breastfed in the project area to 567,394. A survey in 2018 showed that 82% of children between 0-6 months were exclusively breastfed.
  2. Adolescent nutrition: 598,236 adolescent girls consumed more than 24 iron-folic acid supplements. Nearly 900,000 adolescent boys and girls were reached with gender-sensitive nutrition education.
  3. Maternal and newborn health and nutrition: More than 1.3 million women received iron folic acid supplements, nearly 483,000 of whom consumed the recommended doses of at least 90 supplements. More than 888,000 additional newborns were reached through birth package interventions.
  4. Food fortification and universal salt iodization: Nutrition International and partners advocated for mandatory food fortification in Ethiopia. Nearly 30 million additional people were reached annually with properly iodized salt as a result of Nutrition International’s support. More than 2.4 million newborns were protected from iodine deficiency disorders by ensuring adequate iodine status of their mothers between 2016 and 2018.
  5. Technical Assistance for Nutrition (TAN): Senior managers from Nutrition International were seconded to the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ethiopia Public Health Institute. They supported planning, coordination and implementation of the Seqota Declaration innovative phase interventions. At the sub-national level, Nutrition International is currently providing technical assistance to the Tigray and Amhara regions to establish systems for resource tracking and analysis, as well as strengthening partnership management.