In Malawi, Ghana and Pakistan, women, adolescent girls, and children are disproportionately impacted by malnutrition due to a range of biological and socio-cultural factors including poverty, gender inequality and community norms.
All three target countries rank low on both United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index and Gender Inequality Index. Stunting prevalence among children under five ranges from 18 to37% in all three target countries. Additionally, 46% of girls in Malawi, 20% in Ghana and 18% in Pakistan are married before the age of 18. None of the three countries are on track to meet the World Health Assembly’s global nutrition target for 2025 on reducing anaemia among women of reproductive age, while only Ghana is on track to meet the target for reducing stunting among children under five, and only Pakistan is on track to meet the exclusive breastfeeding target.
COVID-19 highlighted the critical role of health workers in ensuring access to quality and dignified care, but also the vulnerabilities in broader systems, which include:
- Limited supportive mentorship for health workers
- Inadequate WASH infrastructures
- Limited local capacity to plan, budget and implement interventions targeting marginalized populations