On World Food Day, we seek sustainable solutions to malnutrition

This blog originally appeared on LinkedIn on October 16, 2017

As we mark the #WFD2017, we operate in a changing environment of finite resources for global development aid. Many nutrition initiatives have to compete for limited donor resources—public and private—while development financiers seek assurance of returns on their investments.

Famine has been declared in South Sudan, while Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia also face devastating food crises. Millions in Niger, Chad, Ethiopia and Kenya need urgent food assistance.

Why nutrition is important?

It is simple as one-two-three:

  1. Well-nourished women, children, and adults live healthier lives;
  2. Diet rich in nutrients provides the foundation for physical and cognitive growth;
  3. Adequate nutrition is essential for child brain development during pregnancy.

Global progress on nutrition depends on larger investments

Historically, there has not been much funding to address undernutrition. This is changing, as many initiatives are calling for more sustained funding. Among those are Scaling Up NutritionPower of Nutrition, and the World Bank's Global Financing Facility (GFF). The latter aims to make smart, scaled, sustainable, and country-powered investments for every woman, every child, and every adolescent.

So what can be done?

Smart choices generate better outcomes
  • Nutrition services can be integrated in maternal and child health services - tio promote early and exclusive breastfeeding and prevent maternal anemia;
  • We must build capacity of those communities we serve – by supporting counseling on infant feeding;
  • We can scale up the Kangaroo Mother Care to help low birth weight babies;
  • We can provide micronutrient supplements and deworming medications (remember – diarrhea is one of the leading causes of undernutrition!);
  • Set up mobile clinics where it is challenging to reach the community;
  • Finally, we can support the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which encourages breastfeeding and many other best practices for infant survival.
Today's World Food Day is a reminder that we must work hard to secure the future for our children.