Reducing the prevalence of stunting in the DRC with the support of the World Bank
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a total financing of USD 502 million for the Multisectoral Nutrition and Health project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This funding comprises a USD 246 million credit and a USD 246 grant from the International Development Association (IDA) and a USD 10 million grant from the Global Financing Facility (GFF).
Child malnutrition is an underlying cause of up to 45 percent of under five deaths and a major challenge in the DRC. The project will help reduce the prevalence of stunting in the country and provide community and primary health care and nutrition, and family planning services in the provinces of Kwilu, Kasai Central, Kasai and Sud Kivu.
“This operation, which targets regions where the needs are the greatest, is the largest and most ambitious World Bank-financed nutrition project to date. In a country like the DRC where 6 million children currently suffer from malnutrition, tackling stunting is a long-term commitment but also the best investment this country can make,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, the World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Multisectoral Nutrition and Health project is expected to benefit 1.5 million pregnant and lactating women and 2.5 million children over five years. Over 200,000 women of reproductive age will also be covered by family planning services. The project will support the government in establishing and scaling up a community health and nutrition platform to deliver an essential package of services, support community mobilization, and strengthen the demand for nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive services. It will also strengthen the supply of evidence-based public services.
“The project would lead to improvements in the nutrition status and physical and cognitive development in the children who benefit from it. In the long term, it would help increase productivity when children grow up, generate higher wages and incomes for individuals and households, and faster economic growth at the national level,” said Hadia Samaha and Jakub Jan Kakietek, World BankTask Team Leaders of the project.
The project is aligned with the Government’s priority of building a comprehensive nutrition agenda. Recognizing the impact of malnutrition on human development and economic growth, DRC identified the fight against malnutrition and, more broadly, investments in the early years as priorities in the national strategy for poverty reduction and economic development.