World Bank approves Phase 2 of Madagascar nutrition program

The World Bank has reportedly approved the second phase of the $85 million nutrition program, dubbed ‘Improving Nutrition Outcomes Program using the MultiPhase Programmatic Approach’, consisting of a $42.5 million grant and a $42.5 million credit.

The program is established with the aim of supporting Madagascar’s battle with the widespread stunting of children in the East African country.

Evidently, chronic malnutrition is the biggest obstacle hampering a child’s potential and also severely affects Madagascar’s long-term goal for overall economic growth and the development of human capital.

In Madagascar, stunting affects four in every ten children under the age of five, which accounts for approximately 1.7 million children – one of the highest rates reported in the world.

Meanwhile, 7.7% of the same age group is underweight, which increases their chances of mortality and morbidity.

Nevertheless, the country has showcased steady progress with a drop in the prevalence of stunting from 50.1% in 2008-2009 to 39.8% in 2021, depicting an improvement rate of 0.86% per year, which is a relatively higher average improvement rate in Africa.

It has been reported that the implementation of the first phase of the project provided health and nutrition services with required nutrition & health commodities to more than 1,875,461 women and children below five through 1,081 primary healthcare centers and 4,526 community facilities.

The second phase, on the other hand, will execute core activities focused on improving the quality and accessibility of essential maternal, reproductive, and child health and nutrition services to generate demand and strengthen systems.

It will also support the nine regions covered by phase 1 and add four more regions including Anosy, Atsinanana, Androy, and Atsimo Atsinanana to cater to some of the most climate vulnerable regions in Madagascar.

Beyond this, phase 2 will amplify collaboration through other sectoral investments, notably in the field of agriculture and social protection to derive improved nutrition outcomes.

It would be imperative to note that extensive food security coverage, nutrition interventions, and social protection for the most vulnerable regions help catalyze the process of reducing poverty, stunting, and chronic food insecurity. 

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