Enhanced Investment to Reduce Stunting Saves 55.5 Bln Birr Annually: Pres. Sahlework

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Addis Ababa August 26/2021 (ENA) Investing the scarce resources on reducing stunting has a huge benefit of return for investment that can save 55.5 billion birr or 16 percent of the GDP annual loss, President Sahlework Zewde said.

The President made the remark today at the High-Level launching ceremony of the Food and Nutrition Strategy and Seqota Declaration Expansion Phase.

President Sahlework stated that investing on ensuring food nutrition and reducing stunting will significantly contribute towards realizing the country’s ten year perspective development plan.

According to the president, enhanced investment on efforts to reducing stunting would help the nation save  55.5 billion birr annually.

Stating that the expansion phase will be implemented on a total of 240 woredas including the 40 woredas of the innovation phase, Sahlework added that leadership commitment and working in collaboration at all levels is critical to realize the 10 year plan.

Health Minister, Lia Tadesse said the 15 years roadmap of Seqota Declaration is divided in to three; the innovation phase (2016-2020), implemented in 40 woredas, expansion phase (2021-2025) and the national scale up phase (2026-2030).

Remarkable achievements of reducing the stunting rate from 58 percent to 38 percent has been registered during the innovation phase and has to be further strengthened, she added.

She stressed the need for strong commitment by all stakeholders across the country towards realizing the plan.

UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Adele Khodr said Ethiopia has demonstrated strong leadership and commitment in driving forward various transformative policies and strategies which have resulted in a significant reduction of malnutrition rates among children across the country.

Nearly 6 million children under the age of five are stunted and 1.6 million children are wasted, she said, adding “malnutrition robs children of their future potential-both physically and mentally.”

Khodr noted “not only will prevention strategies saver lives, it saves money: for every 1 USD invested on nutrition, 16 USD is returned to the economy.”