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Somali- Ethiopia's First Lady addresses the Global Nutrition Summit held in Milan

(MENAFN - Somali Land Sun) By: Amleset Abraar

somalilandsun-Her ExcellencyMrs. Roman Tesfaye,Ethiopia's First Lady,addressed the Global Nutrition Summit-2017-Milanon November, 04-2017,where she also met with high-levelrepresentativesfromthe Italian Ministry of Healthand the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationat the side-lines. The Summit was heldwiththe aimto reviewexisting commitments andmake newpromises and support packages to accelerate theglobal response to malnutrition. The threepriorityareasunder discussion were:i) Improving Nutrition Within Planetary Boundaries: Cities Taking the Lead; ii) Closing the Nutrition Gender Gap; and iii) The Future We Want: Transforming our food systems for improved nutrition.

The Summit whichwas concluded by a pledging moment where countries and stakeholders made new commitments and funding packages amountingUS$3.4bn including US$640 million in new commitmentswas organized bythe Italian Ministry of Health and City of Milan in close partnership with a number of international stakeholders. These includethe U.K.'s Department for International Development, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Coalition on Advocacy for Nutrition.

In her remarks, H.E. Mrs. Roman Tesfayeaddressed the Summit onthe current status ofEthiopia in discharging its previouscommitments of reducing undernutritionand additional new initiatives in the pipeline.Onthis, the First Lady expressed the Ethiopian Government's leadership commitment to the cause as it makes nutrition one of its main development agendathat putsholistic, community specific and gender sensitive approaches at the centre of its strategies to address the challenges of food security and undernutrition. The strategies, she said, ranges from ensuring adequate food production, diversified diary practices and complementary feedingto food fortification measures.Ethiopia's agricultural programs including the Second Agricultural Growth Program has so far enabled to maximize food security and self-sufficiency at national level with plans to sustain increased production to ensure food self-sufficiency at household levels soon.

She said, the 'Seqota Declaration,which puts evidence-based nutrition interventionsinitsimplementation with aims to end child undernutritionin Ethiopiais part ofEthiopia's dedication to discharge its global nutrition commitmentof zero malnutrition in 2030 beinglaid out inthe SDGs. TheEthiopianGovernment'smeasure of increasing its nutrition financingsince 2013,whichshe said reached455million USDin 2015/16only, could be seen asa solid stepto discharge its agreed commitment in the 2013 Nutrition for Growth Global Summitwith additional measurestakenseesthe inclusion of pregnant and lactating women in the country's existing Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP).Of the total nutrition outlay of$455 millionin 2015/16, split across sectors were: nutrition-sensitive programs ($333 million; 73 percent), nutrition in emergency response programs ($68 million; 15 percent), and nutrition-specific programs ($54 million; 12 percent).

Ethiopias First Lady addresses the Global Nutrition Summit held in MilanIn addition,the First Lady said thatthe Ethiopian Governmenthasestablished National Nutrition Coordinating Body (NNCB) and the National Nutrition Technical Committee (NNTC)whichareresponsible tosupport anddevise an integrated approachfor planningacross all sectors to end malnutrition. The Government is alsoimplementing the Second National Nutrition Program across 13 sectors which runs for the years 2016-2020.The EthiopianParliament's endorsementofa policy which extends the country's maternity leave to 120 dayswill also be of value toencourage breast feeding mothers with additional food and nutrition policy related to food fortification standards is under discussion in Parliament being expected for endorsement soon.

The nutrition measures taken so far,First Lady Roman Tesfayesaid, has enabled Ethiopia to reduce child stunting from what it was 44.4% in 2011 to 38% in 2016, and decrease percentage of women with anaemia from 27 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2016.73% of mothers in Ethiopia has begun breastfeeding their children within one hour of birth and 92% has begun within one day of birth. Exclusive breastfeeding rate is consistently increasing from 49% in 2005 to 58% in 2016.These trends, she said, are clear indications that Ethiopia is moving on the right track towards achieving its 'Nutrition for Growth commitments.

However,she said,rates of chronic and acute malnutrition are still highin Ethiopia, with the prevalence of stuntingand underweight of children under five stoodat 38and 24percent,and the prevalence of wasting hovering at about9percent since 2011.In addition, 24% of women of reproductive age have anaemiaand 22% are undernourished. Construed from this fact,the Government of Ethiopia is working on a plan to cut stunting from what it is 38% now to 26% by 2020, underweight from 24% to 13% and wasting from 9% to 4.9%. She underlined that the Ethiopian Government guided by its strong commitment to ensure food security and zero malnutrition and also as a trusted partner guided by the global visionof 'better nutrition for all, everywhereis always devotedto accomplish the set targets. But then again, she said, such an effortdemandsa more broadenedand predictablesupportfrom thedonors'in a way consistent to national priorities of countries as the issue ofgender equality andthe global vision of 'better nutrition for all, everywhere goes beyond'national borders and political agenda.The Summit commends Ethiopia's effective measures and programs being devised and implementedtoensuring food security andrecognizes the progresses made so far in reducing children and women undernutrition.

First Lady Roman Tesfaye also met withthe representatives ofpartners including from the Italian government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the side-lines of the Summit where she discussed on ways offurther strengthening cooperation on nutrition andpromotion ofgenderequality.

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Somali- Ethiopia's First Lady addresses the Global Nutrition Summit held in Milan

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