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Governments Must Focus On Improving Nutrition To Reach UHC Goals

Devex: Opinion: Reaching universal health coverage means tackling malnutrition
Adelheid Onyango, adviser for nutrition at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, and Bibi Giyose, senior nutrition and food systems officer, and special advisor to the NEPAD CEO

“…UHC is ultimately about achieving health and wellbeing for all by 2030, a goal that is inextricably linked with that of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition. … [M]ost of the diseases that entail catastrophic costs to individuals, households, and national health care systems in Africa could be avoided if everyone was living actively and consuming adequate, diverse, safe, and nutritious food. … To tackle malnutrition, achieve UHC, and ultimately reach the goal of health and well-being for all, governments need to put in place the right investments, policies, and incentives. As a starting point, governments need to assure the basic necessities of food security, clean water, and improved sanitation to prevent and reduce undernutrition among poor rural communities and urban slum populations in Africa. … A shortcut to achieving universal health coverage is to reduce the need for costly treatments. And there is no better way to do that than to ensure that everyone, everywhere, preserves their health and has access to safe and nutritious food: Let food be thy medicine” (8/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.