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Scaling up nutrition will reduce poverty & contribute to economic growth

- says SUN Movement National Coordinator

June 10, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

National Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement has reckoned that scaling up nutrition will yield good returns as it would help reduce poverty, contribute to economic growth, save lives and enable children and their mothers to have a better future.

Briefing journalists yesterday in the conference room of the Office of the Vice President about the SUN Movement, Dr. Mohamed Foh said poor nutrition makes people vulnerable to diseases but stressed that those with access to better nutrition are more likely to survive ailments.

He stated that the movement started in 2010 with the support of multiple actors to scale up and achieve national nutritional goals but that Sierra Leone launched the initiative in October 2012.

“Malnutrition in Sierra Leone is seen not only as a threat to life but also a serious problem to the country’s fragile economy,” noted Dr. Foh. “Our opportunities remain reflective of our potentials and ambition to move the process forward.”

He highlighted increase in nutrition capacity within the ministries of Health and Sanitation and Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, improvement in infant and young children feeding through effective education and counseling services, and increase in access to safe and clean water as some of the key actions to address malnutrition.

“Sierra Leone exhibits high rates of child stunting but relatively shows reduction in malnutrition rates within two years as a result of multi-sectoral partnership,” he stated and added that according to a survey conducted by SMART in 2014, 28.8% of children under the age of five are stunted.

Also speaking, SUN Movement Focal Person in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mohamed Sheriff, said the movement is challenged with coordination, especially in the district level, but noted that there is a prospect of the willingness by stakeholders involved to own the process.

SUN Movement Technical Officer, Bernadette M. Allieu, stated that the focus on nutrition would help girls and women to be well nourished and have healthy babies.

Earlier in her opening remarks, Minister of State in the Office of the Vice President, Harriett Turay, opined that the inception of the SUN Movement has seen a decrease in the stunting of children.

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