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REACH Focuses Attention On Child Hunger

ByT. SayeGoinleh

The UN’s program, Efforts Against Child Hunger and Under Nutrition (REACH) has successfully activated and refined a country-centred, multi-sectorial approach.

This program which is an inter-agency partnership founded by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations International Children Education Funds (UNICEF), World Food Program (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO) was established in 2009 to help strengthen the national capacities for nutrition governance and Scale Up of Nutrition Movement (SUN) actions to reduce malnutrition among children in Liberia.

In 2014, Liberia joined the SUN Movement with a letter of commitment from the then Minister of Health, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale.

As a SUN country, Liberia is obligated to achieving her nutritional targets as an agenda and objectives through global commitment for her support to strengthening the processes on the ground.

The SUN movement evaluates institutional transformations using four key processes, namely, Bringing People Together into a Share Space for Action, ensuring a Coherent Policy and Legal Framework, Aligning Actions around a Common Results Framework (CRF) and Financial Tracking and Resource Mobilization.

REACH support has up to date been implemented at the request of twenty-two governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and most recently with funding from Irish Aid.

Irish Aid has dedicated itself to continue her support to REACH in 2018 and Liberia has been selected as a potential country.

The UN Network, REACH secretariat is currently conducting a mission in Liberia since April 30 this year jointly with Irish Aid to facilitate consultations among key stakeholders to better understand and build consensus on the current status of nutrition governance in the country so as to identify gaps and potential activities that could be supported in 2018.

The WFP Liberia country office in Liberia has been requested by REACH Global Secretariat to coordinate this mission.

The most recent nutrition situation data report on Liberia says under five months, 32% from zero to five months exclusively on breastfeeding-starting breast milk within one hour after birth and continuing until six months, 55%; under five and too thin for height, 6%; woman anemia (low blood), 49.3%; adult overweight (above a weight considered normal), 25%; hypertension (high blood pressure), 28% and 8% for diabetes (high blood sugar). And this data was gathered since 2012.

Liberia’s 2012 Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), the “Agenda for Transformation” also identified nutrition as a national priority and an integral element of her overall development agenda.

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