Malawi

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On 15 March 2011, the Republic of Malawi joined the SUN Movement with a letter of commitment from the Permanent Secretary. At the time, Malawi had established a National Nutrition Committee, chaired by the Secretary for Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Office of the President. The main function was to mobilise resources and support the implementation of interventions in line with the countries Food and Nutrition Security Policy (2005) and the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan (2007 – 2015). Malawi was also focused on community-based action, with the 1,000 Special days National Nutrition Education and Communication Strategy (NECS), prioritised for the period 2012 – 2017 to reduce stunting though behaviour change and awareness raising.

Progress

Bringing people together
81% 2016

Bringing people together

Coherent policy and legal framework
87% 2016

Coherent policy and legal framework

Aligning programs around a Common Results Framework
75% 2016

Aligning programs around a Common Results Framework

Financial tracking and resource mobilization
59% 2016

Financial tracking and resource mobilization

TOTAL
76% 2016

TOTAL

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Nutrition situation

42.4%

Under Five Stunting

12.9%

Low Birth Weight

70.2%

0-5 Months Exclusive Breastfeeding

3.8%

Under Five Wasting

5.1%

Under Five Overweight

28.8%

Woman Anaemia 15-49 years

4.3%

Adult Blood Glucose (Diabetes)

21.9%

Adult Overweight

5.3%

Adult Obesity

Strategic objectives

In 2015-2016, Malawi’s Multi-Stakeholder Platforms have functioned well at various levels – from the Cabinet and Principal Secretariat to the district and community levels. All platforms meet regularly and have well defined terms of reference. The various networks are also well established, with conveners and an ever-growing membership. Despite coordination being successful, there is need to strengthen the Government-Development Partners Committee and increase participation of the private sector in areas that go beyond fortification by June 2017.

Last updated: December 2016

2015

In Malawi, the National Nutrition Committee (NNC) is the convening body for coordinating action on scaling up nutrition. The NNC provides technical guidance on the implementation of the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan (NNPSP) across related sectors.
This multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) is replicated at the decentralised level including District Nutrition Coordination Committees with district nutrition focal persons, Village Development Committees and Community Leaders for Action on Nutrition groups.

Other established high-level political coordination structures for nutrition include the Cabinet Committee, Parliamentary Committee, Principal Secretaries Committee, and the Government Development Partners Committee.

The Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS (DNHA) is mandated to spearhead the integration of nutrition in the line Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Gender, Information, Civic Education and Local Government to ensure multi-sectoral coordination.

The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Donor group on Nutrition Security (DoNutS) have been re-defined to harmonise the work of the development partners to better support national efforts. The United States Agency for International Development chairs the group with Irish Aid appointed as the Donor convenor.

The United Nations (UN) Network is key in rolling out the national plans to the districts to ensure that the most vulnerable are reached.

The Civil Society Alliance in Malawi (CSONA) plays a leading role in supporting national efforts through meaningful dialogue and advocacy. Concern Worldwide supports the CSONA Secretariat.

Partners from the private sector have been active through the National Fortification Alliance.

Last updated: October 2015

The National Nutrition Policy and Nutrition Strategic Plan have been reviewed and costed and aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. Sector-specific policies and plans on agriculture, gender equality and climate change have also been reviewed for better alignment with the 2030 Agenda and its Goals. The Infant and Young Child Nutrition Strategy, the Nutrition Education and Communication Strategy, nutrition profiles and advocacy and nutrition-oriented materials are under review in 2016. Donors appear aligned to nutrition, health and agriculture policies and
strategic plans.

Last updated: December 2016

2015

The overarching policy and strategic plan for Malawi is the NNPSP (2007-2015). The NNPSP has now been reviewed and is awaiting approval for dissemination.
Nutrition was positioned as a priority in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) I and II making it one of the government’s priority areas of investment. Efforts are underway to sustain the focus on nutrition and to include it in the MGDS III.
Other strategic documents that facilitate the operationalisation of the NNPSP and the MGDS include:

  • National Micronutrient Strategy
  • National Nutrition Education and Communication Strategy (NECS)
  • Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) Strategy
  • Nutrition Care and Support Strategy
  • Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWA), and
  • National Social Protection Policy.

The UN Network coordinates their actions along the United Nations Development Assistance Framework and DoNutS and CSONA have their own policy and strategy aligned to the national nutrition agenda. Partners from the private sector have no defined own policy but ensure compliance with national guidelines, regulations and standards.

The Employment Act mandates paid maternity leave up to 12 weeks in the public sector and up to 8 weeks in the private sector. Malawi has adopted many provisions of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (BMS) into law as part of the Public Health Act (Chapter 34:01).

The Food and Nutrition Act is currently being finalised by the Government which will provide guidance on adequate nutrition, standards for food fortification and food labelling guidelines.

Last updated: October 2015

The Nutrition Strategic Plan adequately defines roles and responsibilities of key ministries for the effective implementation of nutrition programmes. A nutrition sector mapping of stakeholders, a situation analysis and geographical and financial coverage was also conducted. The national Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (M&E), with clear indicators, is in place, and is strengthened by joint monitoring, joint reviews and research conducted annually. The M&E system needs to be strengthened at all levels.

Last updated: December 2016

2015

Malawi has a clear programme with specific strategies aligned to the NNPSP. The NECS explicitly includes a list of steps for rolling out activities as part of a national multi-sectorial, multi-stakeholder effort called the SUN – 1000 Special Days Movement that translates policy into action.
A national level monitoring and evaluation framework is in place with clear defined indicators to guide the roll out of the NNPSP. It has already taken effect in 70% of districts.

To ensure timely reporting, the government developed a web-based database, which is linked from district to national level. All monitoring and evaluation officers in districts have been trained and supported with relevant equipment.

Progress is also tracked through the annual multi-stakeholder SUN learning forum, and through routine monitoring surveys including demographic health surveys and multiple indicator cluster surveys.

Last updated: October 2015

A Nutrition Resource Tracking System (NURTS) has been developed to track governmental and donor financing on nutrition, which is being tested in 2016. NURTS is able to capture nutritionsensitive and specific interventions on an annual basis, which allows for regular financial reports and accountability. The Government and partners are working together for nutrition resource mobilisation. Some key challenges include the lack of a Resource Mobilisation Strategy, few partners feeding data into the NURTS, and inadequate financing from the government.

Last updated: December 2016

2015

Malawi has developed a web-based financial tracking system with a dashboard that will help to provide information on current and forecasted resources from external sources with projections and gaps. The process is 80% complete and has been disseminated to key nutrition stakeholders at national level. The next steps include dissemination of the system and training of end users at all levels. The resource tracking system comprehensively captures the financing commitments of partners and will enable increased alignment. This financing tracking system is being coordinated with the support of DoNutS.
Malawi also recently launched the Cost of Hunger report which is now used as a tool for resource mobilisation.

Last updated: October 2015

SUN Government Focal Point

"In my new appointment as the Acting SUN Focal Point for Malawi, I will ensure that the national multisectoral nutrition policy and strategic plan, the national monitoring and evaluation and web-based data base and the web-based financial tracking system is in place and rolled out."

Felix Pensulo Phiri
Director of Nutrition, Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS, Ministry of Health

Donor Convenor

  • IrishAid
  • USAID