African Policymakers Must Prioritize Funding, Actions To Improve Nutrition

Project Syndicate: The Many Faces of Malnutrition
Adebimpe Adebiyi, director of family health at the Nigerian Ministry of Health

“…[O]ne in three people worldwide suffer from malnutrition, and it does not always look the way one might expect. From the two billion adults who carry too much weight to the 159 million children with stunted growth, malnutrition takes many forms. … West Africa is home to some of the world’s highest rates of malnutrition. … The imperative to tackle malnutrition could not be clearer. Yet progress has been mixed, particularly in West Africa. … According to the 2016 Global Nutrition Report, donor funds for nutrition-focused interventions are stagnating at $1 billion. Nine West African governments spend, on average, just over one percent of their budgets on nutrition. And yet nutrition is one of the best investments we can make, with every $1 invested in nutrition yielding $16 in returns. … Many African governments have set out ambitious goals relating to security, stability, and long-term economic prosperity. Nutrition is critical to achieving any of them. It is central to our continent’s development, and should thus be a high priority for our policymakers. Millions of lives depend on it” (11/17).