The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office says there is need for African countries to invest in nutrition in order to address challenges of malnutrition and stunting facing the continent.
Mr. Temeki Tšolo was addressing delegates at the High level forum on Early Childhood Nutrition in Southern Africa held at Thaba-Bosiu in Maseru on Tuesday. He said nutrition is everybody’s issue hence the need to invest in it for proper early childhood development.
Mr. Tšolo said Africa has not been allocating funds on nutrition programmes, saying reports show that 30 percent of children under the age of five are suffering from stunting, which is one of the poor nutrition effects.
He remarked that nutrition is a comprehensive science that requires experts to give information on how best children from zero to five years of age can be fed properly for the development of their bodies, saying the challenges of malnutrition is not only confronting Lesotho but the region as a whole hence the need for all stakeholders and experts’ attention to find ways and develop strategies that will free Africa from stunting and malnutrition by practicing good nutrition for proper childhood development and building of a strong Africa through its well-fed human capital.
Also speaking was the Minister of Development Planning, Mr. Tlohelang Aumane who called for coordinated efforts across all sectors to reduce malnutrition in Africa.
He said according to the 2016 global nutrition report, there are 58 million children suffering from stunting due to poor nutrition, poverty and lack of other basic needs, and therefore urged countries to invest in nutrition related issues which he said is significant for development.
The World Bank Country Director responsible for Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Mr. Paul Noumba Um said Africa is the only region that has seen increasing rates of stunting in children under five years old.
He said there is need for countries to invest in nutrition to address the problem, noting that stunted children today will be driving the economy of their countries tomorrow, hence the need for nations to think deeply on what could be done to address stunting in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
He commended Lesotho for hosting the event and delegates for their attendance, saying their engagements should strive towards improving early childhood nutrition for sustainable development, further stressing the importance of the forum to afford stakeholders an opportunity to act upon the provided channels to influence this agenda.
It is expected that at the end of the forum, Heads of State and Government, senior officials from the host country and others from Southern Africa will deliberate on among others investing in early childhood nutrition for Africa’s development.
Source: LENA 02/10/2018