Representatives from 18 African countries attending a meeting on scaling up of nutrition in the region, have recommended the revision of existing food and nutrition policies by governments on the continent.
While most African countries have developed nutrition policies and programmes, some have not been officially adopted while some are yet to comprehensively address all the nutrition challenges.
It is against this background that stakeholders in the health sector from 18 African countries are meeting in Harare to discuss ways of how individual countries can scale up nutrition programmes in their countries.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 3-day meeting, World Health Organisation Director of Nutrition in the Geneva office, Dr Francesco Branca said member states should consider revising their nutrition policies, in order to establish programmes that will reduce the double burden of malnutrition especially in children under the age of five.
Statistics have shown that about 115 million children worldwide are underweight and 186 million children under five years of age have stunted growth.
World Health Organisation Brazzaville office Regional Adviser of Nutrition, Dr Abol Dushimimana said participants are in agreement that their individual countries should consider drafting new laws or strengthen the existing ones to ensure that challenges of malnutrition are dealt with in a comprehensive manner.Â
Chronic malnutrition has been successfully reduced in some countries due to the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at improving food security, reducing poverty and social inequalities and improving maternal education.
After the 3-day meeting, countries in the African region are expected to come up with a plan that provides details on high priority interventions and sectoral policies.Â Â Â