Malnutrition refers to as a condition that develops when a child doesn’t eat the correct balanced nutrients in the early days of life (from conception to age two), leading to irreversible stunting of a cognitive and physical development.
UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations – UN initiative set up to fight malnutrition through innovations and the Ecobank Group’s Foundation have launched a campaign to raise awareness and funds to prevent the situation in Africa.
The campaign ‘Make the Connection’ that is happening in all the 33 countries across Africa where Ecobank operates, including Uganda aims at creating awareness and money through fundraising drives and targets to support families that have been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everywhere in Africa, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a disastrous effect on people’s income and ability to access nutritious foods. The Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium project notes that an estimated 1.2 million additional children in sub-Saharan Africa will be stunted in 2022 compared to 2019 due to interruptions in nutrition services and increased household poverty. We must shine more light on chronic malnutrition in these challenging times,” said Assia Sidibe, Head of UNITLIFE Secretariat in a statement released on Wednesday, February 10.
Carl Manlan, the Ecobank Foundation – Chief Operating Officer Ecobank said the organization’s role in the new campaign was supporting the communication efforts and bringing the necessary expertise to set-up the fundraising mechanisms which will help Africans help themselves out of hunger through making small contributions.
Currently, the World Health Organization – WHO figures show a third of African children experience chronic malnutrition, in 24 African countries, chronic malnutrition rates stand above 30%. In other words, 1 in 3 African children does not eat a diet that meets their nutrient needs during the first 1,000 days of their lives.
As a result, they face life-long consequences affecting their physical growth, cognitive development and immune systems.
Sidibe insists that the situation can be tamed by just $2 per day as this is enough to have access to nutritious food in many places in Africa.
“Make the connection enables everyone to take action against chronic malnutrition. It is about protecting our children’s future, our human capital. In sub-Saharan Africa, it takes only $2 per day to have access to nutritious food. Pooling our resources for the next generation is painless when we invite more people to micro-donate,” she said.
However, the campaign is being launched on February 10th, the World Pulses Day which is a designated United Nations global event to recognize the importance of pulses such as beans and peas as global food and their nutritional benefits. Worldwide, 144 million children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition – majority of whom are from Africa.