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OTTAWA, December 14 − The Government of Canada today announced $520 million for evidence-based nutrition programming over the next five years, which includes a portion of Canada’s $280 million anchor investment in Nutrition International’s investment case, also announced today. In addition to those funds, Canada announced $29.5 million to Nutrition International to lead a global emergency catch-up campaign for vitamin A supplementation, aiming to reach the millions of children who failed to receive this lifesaving intervention due to COVID-19 disruptions.

COVID-19 related disruptions have impacted the delivery of vital health and nutrition services around the world. With this funding, Nutrition International will work with partners and governments to deliver packages of essential child survival and health services in countries where the risk of spikes in child mortality are highest. This includes supporting catch-up campaigns and other coverage intensification activities to ensure children under five years get a protective dose of vitamin A as soon as possible, reducing their likelihood of death and disability.

Nutrition funding has one of the highest returns on investment, making it a best buy in development. Nutrition increases the impact of investments in other sectors, boosting the impact of every dollar invested in health, in education, in gender and in economic growth. Without good nutrition the brain cannot develop fully, the body cannot grow properly, and the immune system cannot function effectively. This leaves people vulnerable to disease and disability, and stunting their potential, for life.

The announcement was made at a virtual event that launched a year of action for nutrition ahead of the Nutrition for Growth Summit in 2021. Hosted by the Government of Canada and co-hosted by the Government of Bangladesh, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this event was a critical opportunity to build momentum and keep nutrition on the agenda throughout 2021, including at the G7, the African Union Summit and the Food Systems Summit.

Canada’s announcement was part of the more than US$3 billion pledged to addressing global malnutrition during the launch event, which also included significant financial commitments from the Government of Pakistan and World Vision.

As part of the event, Nutrition International pledged to work in support of governments, and with partners, to transform the lives of one billion people by 2030 – especially women, adolescent girls and children – by improving their nutritional status. Among other benefits, Nutrition International will:

  • Prevent at least 4 million cases of stunting – giving children the right start and increasing the impact of global investments in education, health and economic growth.
  • Prevent at least 60 million cases of anaemia – driving global focus and action on a neglected issue that heavily impacts women, adolescent girls and children.
  • Provide and coordinate the global supply of vitamin A capsules, ensuring at least 150 million children a year receive two doses of life-saving vitamin A.