Afghanistan | News | Afghanistan launches Food Security and Nutrition Agenda to fight malnutrition

Afghanistan launches Food Security and Nutrition Agenda to fight malnutrition

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“Access to food is still a challenge in Afghanistan”, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan Chief Executive stated in the launch event“Access to food is still a challenge in Afghanistan”, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan Chief Executive stated in the launch eventKabul, 16 October 2017 – The Afghan government launched it’s Food Security and Nutrition Agenda (AFSeN) On World Food Day, 16 October 2017. The agenda, led by the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, aims to strengthen interministerial coordination for food security and nutrition interventions at all levels to ensure that all Afghans everywhere have adequate physical and economic access to food at all times. 

On the same occasion, Afghanistan also became the 60th country to join the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement. The SUN movement, launched in 2010, is a global partnership for bringing actors together to tackle nutrition challenges. 

At a launch event held in Kabul, bilateral partners and four UN agencies: UNICEF, World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Wold Health Organization pledged to provide support to both the the AFSeN and the SUN goals.

Afghanistan’s Minister for Public Health, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz stated in his speech that approximately 41% of children under 5 are being stunted due to malnutritionAfghanistan’s Minister for Public Health, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz stated in his speech that approximately 41% of children under 5 are being stunted due to malnutritionDespite progress in tackling malnutrition, Afghanistan still faces severe difficulties with one third of the population being food insecure. 

At the launch ceremony, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah reminded, that access to food was still a major problem in Afghanistan. 

Minister for Public Health, Dr Ferozuddin Feroz, stated that approximately 41% of Afghan children under 5 are stunted due to malnutrition. He emphasized the importance of adequate nutrition especially during the first two years of a child’s life, a critical time for development.  

WHO representative for Afghanistan, Dr Richard Peeperkorn, welcomed the initiative and pledged the organization’s support for AFSeN as well as the SUN movement. 

Scaling up of growth monitoring among children under 5 years is essential"Scaling up of growth monitoring among children under 5 years is essential as this is a window of opportunity for identifying children not growing optimally," Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative AfghanistanDr Peeperkorn stressed the importance of quality data to improve surveillance of malnutrition. He emphasised the role of scaling up growth monitoring amongst children under 5 years, as well as nutrition surveillance in health facilities to establish trends in acute malnutrition. He further expressed that WHO is committed to continue to support the efforts, as improved understanding of the situation would enable more targeted interventions towards addressing food insecurity and malnutrition.   

“These 60 countries are in the driving seat for ending malnutrition everywhere”, Global SUN movement coordinator Gerda Verburg“These 60 countries are in the driving seat for ending malnutrition everywhere”, Global SUN movement coordinator Gerda VerburgThe Coordinator of the SUN movement, Ms Gerda Verburg, who visited Afghanistan to attend the launch event, welcomed Afghanistan’s acceptance to join the movement, and in her remarks stated, that together, the 60 countries involved were “in the driving seat to ending malnutrition everywhere”. 

More information on the SUN movement

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Key health-related statistics

Population (m) 29.7
Health expenditure (% of GDP) 9.5
Adult (15+) literacy rate (%) 34.8
Life expectancy at birth F/M (2010) 63.2-63.6

Sources: Central Statistics office, Afghanistan National health Accounts, Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey, Afghanistan mortality survey. 

Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

Afghanistan country health profile

Regional Health Observatory

WHO Afghanistan Programme Overview 

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