SUN Focal Point, Malawi
Edith Mkawa

SUN Government Focal Point Edith Mkawa, Permanent Secretary, Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS, Office of the President, discusses progress and opportunities for the future of her country through Scaling Up Nutrition

Video Transcript ▶

Malawi signaled its commitment to join the SUN Movement on 15 March 2011.

The National Nutrition Committee, chaired by the Secretary for Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Office of the President and co-chaired by UNICEF leads coordination on nutrition amongst technical specialists and development partners in Malawi. Its main function is to mobilise resources and support for the implementation of nutrition interventions to be in line with the country’s National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan, monitor progress and evaluate impact.

Malawi has a Food and Nutrition Security Policy (2005) and a National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan for the period 2007-2012. In line with the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan (NNPSP) a number of programmes are implemented to address five outcomes including improved maternal nutrition and care; improved infant and young child feeding practices; improved intake of essential micronutrients (including zinc for diarrhea management); prevention and treatment of common infectious diseases and improved management of acute malnutrition.

The Department for Nutrition, HIV and AIDS under the Office of the President and the Cabinet with the support from development partners like UNICEF, the World Bank, Irish Aid and USAID has been instrumental in developing a standardized SUN roll-out framework whereby the national multi-sector institutional approach to nutrition is reflected from local assemblies up to the district and community level. A coverage target of 50% of districts has been established for 2012 and 2013.

Malawi is focusing on community-based action, with the 1,000 Special Days National Nutrition Education and Communication Strategy (NECS) being prioritised from 2012 to 2017 to reduce child stunting among children under two years to under 20% through behavior change and awareness raising at the community level. This will include a combination of means using mass and community media, family counseling, awareness raising of local leaders and capacity building of multi-sectoral frontline workers.

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    Priorities & Opportunities

    Priorities for scaling up nutrition in Malawi include rolling out of SUN activities in 50% of districts; tracking progress from different implementation partners; and establishing coordination offices and placement of district-level SUN focal persons.

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    Progress & Impact

    Coordination on nutrition among government, technical specialists and development partners is focused on mobilizing resources and support and monitoring progress and impact on implementation of nutrition interventions in line with the country’s National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan.

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    Statistics

    Among children under five years in Malawi, 47.2% are stunted, 4% are wasted, while 8.3% are overweight; and 12.3% of infants are born with low birth weight.

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Photo Credits: © Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Data Source: Demographic and Health Survey for Malawi, 2010