South Africa sets nutrition goals for 2025

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

'Establishing a Knowledge-Sharing and Monitoring Platform is critical...' ©iStock
'Establishing a Knowledge-Sharing and Monitoring Platform is critical...' ©iStock

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Multiple stakeholders are gathering to tackle hidden hunger and malnutrition in South Africa.

“African leaders have put food and nutrition security high on the continent’s development agenda, with their commitment to end hunger and reduce stunting to 10% and underweight to 5% by 2025,”​ said Isatou Jallow, head of the Food and Nutrition Security Programme at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency.

“Establishing a Knowledge-Sharing and Monitoring Platform is therefore critical in promoting the generation and use of quality data in planning, monitoring and decision making by different stakeholders and sectors working to ensure food and nutrition security in Africa.”

NEPAD organised a 3-day workshop to firm actions in Johannesburg last week in conjunction with the multilateral Southern African Development Community (SADC) and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Problems highlighted included:

  • 63% of women and 41% of men are obese or overweight.
  • 14% under-5s are overweight.
  • childhood stunting affects 29% of children.
  • 44% of under-6s are vitamin A deficient which can lead to eye health issues.
  • 28% of women of reproductive age are anaemic.

Also at the meeting were the African Union Commission, African Ministries of Health and Agriculture, UN Agencies, USAID, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN), and the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR), among others.

The effort comes in the wake of the 2016 Global Nutrition Report​, which highlighted international nutrition issues. 

Over the past decade, efforts to alleviate the burden of nutrition have been making steady gains. In 2012 the World Health Assembly adopted the 2025 Global Targets for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition.

With actions affirmed​ ​at the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in Rome in 2014, and with the recent naming of 2016–2025 as the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition, the importance of addressing malnutrition is gaining momentum.

In 2015 the UN Sustainable Development Goals committed to ‘ending all forms of malnutrition,’ challenging the world to end malnutrition for all people, by 2030.

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