Fighting malnutrition in Ethiopia
Tools as simple as a weighing scale are saving lives
The tragedy of hunger & malnutrition
Malnutrition contributed to 3.1 million deaths of children under 5 last year –more than a third of all deaths in that age group. It also carries enormous social and economic costs, leaving more than 165 million children with stunted physical and mental development and poor physical health.
Studies suggest that malnourished children will earn at least 20 per cent less than the average over their adult lives. Added together, this robs some of the world’s poorest countries of at least 8 per cent of GDP each year. The tragedy is that malnutrition is both preventable and treatable if tackled in time.
International Medical Corps’ takes a holistic approach to nutrition, including both the prevention and treatment of malnutrition. We work to strengthen nutrition programmes at national, local, and community levels in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Our prevention strategies focus on vulnerable groups, including: adolescents, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children under 2 years old. Our treatment efforts focus on children under 5 and pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
Our programmes focus on the period from conception through to the 23rd month of a child's life - the "1000-day window of opportunity" - as a critical opportunity for preventing stunting and physical and mental disabilities associated with malnutrition.
Amongst the most effective approaches we use are Care Groups, led by local female volunteers trained by International Medical Corps that meet on a regular basis with mothers and their young children. These groups are rooted in local communities and allow women to share lessons and advice amongst their friends and neighbours on how to keep their children healthy.
Our food security projects support families to produce, store and purchase a range of nutritious foods so that the family can get all the nutrients they need for healthy development. In Ethiopia, we distribute seeds and help set up community gardens so entire villages are equipped to grow, eat and sell nutritious foods.