By Fanna Minwuyelet and Eric-Alain Ategbo
Last week, Ethiopia launched the second National Nutrition Programme (NNP) II focusing on the first 1,000 days of life to eradicate chronic malnutrition by 2030. State Minister of Health and Chairperson of the National Nutrition Coordination Body (NNCB), Dr Kebede Worku, recognized 13 ministries that represent the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to support the achievement of the targets laid out in the National Nutrition Programme II.
The ministries have recognised that high malnutrition rate in Ethiopia is unacceptable and have stressed the need for strengthened collaboration to reduce the impact of malnutrition in the country. The findings of ‘The Cost of Hunger in Africa,’ study revealed that Ethiopia loses 55.5 billion birr annually due malnutrition.
As malnutrition remains to be the underlying cause of more than one in five child deaths in Ethiopia, the goal of the NNP II is to provide a framework for coordinated and integrated implementation of multisector nutrition interventions.
The NNP II is developed taking into account past experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of the NNP I and integrating new initiatives from the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II).
The updated aims of the NNP II include reducing the prevalence of three crucial indicators for children under five: stunting from 40 per cent to 26 per cent; underweight from 25 per cent to 13 per cent and wasting from 9 per cent to 4.9 per cent.
With the following five strategic objectives, the NNP II envisions Ethiopia free of malnutrition and diet-related non-communicable diseases by 2050.
- Improve the nutritional status of women (15 -49 years) and adolescent girls (10 – 19 years)
- Improve the nutritional status of children from birth up to 10 years
- Improve the delivery of nutrition services for communicable and non-communicable/lifestyle related diseases
- Strengthen the implementation of nutrition-sensitive interventions across sectors
- Improve multisector coordination and capacity to implement the national nutrition programme
The Government of Ethiopia has demonstrated policy commitment to streamline nutrition efforts by incorporating indicators into the Government’s five-year Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II; 2016-20).
UNICEF contributed to this important signing through technical support as a National Nutrition Technical Committee (NNTC) member and played a leading role in supporting the Government of Ethiopia to establish and nurture multisectoral coordination bodies at both federal and regional levels.
The event was attended by representatives from civil society organizations, academia, the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, donors and UN agencies.
 Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Water Irrigation and Electricity, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Government Communication Affairs Office as well as National Disaster Risk Management Coordination Commission