Platform to reduce malnutrition among Basotho introduced

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By Nicole Tau

With Lesotho’s malnutrition rates increasing from 33 percent to 35 percent the country has launched a Nutrition-Sensitive Platform to combat and reduce the rising rates of malnutrition.

The latest population study revealed that the country is experiencing a reverse of gains that had previously been gained in reducing malnutrition, hence the move from 33 percent in 2014 to 35 percent according to a recent study.

“Lesotho is amongst the countries that are experiencing the stage of triple burden of malnutrition…

“We found that we had to accelerate efforts to reduce malnutrition so that by the year 2025 we would have reduced malnutrition to 23.1 percent amongst children aged 0-5 years,” said Dr. Phiny Hanson, a nutrition specialist with 30 years of experience in the industry said.

The Nutrition-Sensitive Platform was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) recently to combat and reduce the rising rates of malnutrition in the Kingdom as well as an oversight committee to oversee and provide technical assistance to the ministry.

Dr. Hanson, a current member of the Nutrition-Sensitive Platform Committee, said the Kingdom has subscribed to a global program called Scaling up Nutrition that is funded by United Nations which is bringing countries together to pool resources in addressing malnutrition challenges.

“There is a commitment of huge amount of money that has been placed by World Bank in that Ministry to make sure that we reach our final goal,” Masia Johane, deputy Principal Secretary in the ministry said.

At the program launch, graced by the attendance of the then Minister of Agriculture Likopo Mahase as well as the PS Nchakha Makara, Dr. Dira Khama, and other relevant stakeholders, Phiny said that the oversight committee will be working with an internal audit within the Ministry and will be reporting directly to the senior management.

KDNews learned the committee’s mandate amongst other things will be to ensure proper use of financial resources, effective implementation of work plans, and ensure the achievements of intended intermediate and long-term results.

When asked how much the Ministry would need to execute its project, Lineo Mathule, Nutrition Specialist from United Nations Children’s Fund- Lesotho said that they would need an estimate of M751 Million to avert stunting countrywide within a short period.

Small Holder Agriculture Development Project (SADP) representative stated that they already have $3.2 million (about M44 million) focused on nutrition.