MPs want new nutrition policy


The Parliamentary Committee on Nutrition and HIV and Aids has said the absence of a functioning nutrition policy is one of the things contributing to problems rocking the health sub-sector.

The latest policy expired some years back and stakeholders in the field continue operating without a proper guiding principle, a thing which, according to the members of Parliament (MPs), makes it difficult for the scrutiny of benchmarks.

Last week, the MPs toured nutrition projects which are being implemented by the District Nutrition Coordinating Committees (DNCC) in Mzimba and Karonga to appreciate efforts in curbing malnutrition and stunting.


The tour was organised by the Department of Nutrition, HIV and Aids (DNHA) in the Ministry of Health with support from the Civil Society Nutrition Alliance (Csona) and Save the Children Malawi.

One of the members of the committee, Khumbo Kachali, asked stakeholders in the nutrition sub-sector to come up with a proper policy, arguing that without a policy, it is difficult for strides to be properly followed and analysed.

“Come up with a policy and we will support it. It is difficult even for donors to assist programmes that do not have proper policies because policies act as guides of what you intend to do,” Kachali said to officials who included Chief Clinical Nutrition Officer, Blessings Muwalo Nq’umayo.


Officials in the DNCCs of the two districts said inadequate funding poses the biggest challenge in efforts towards curbing malnutrition and stunting.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Nutrition and HIV and Aids, Deus Gumba, said government loses a lot of money in dealing with the effects of malnutrition and stunting.

“It is unfortunate that issues of nutrition are not given prominence at national level. Yet annually, about K247 billion is lost in dealing with problems related to malnutrition. This translates to about 10 percent of the [Gross Domestic Product],” said Gumba.

Nq’umayo said most of the problems that Malawi is facing are as a result of malnutrition, adding that about 47 percent of children in the country are malnourished.

“This just shows that about half of our population has nutrition problems, and it is from this pool of people that we get experts when they struggle and get required qualifications. These are people whose brains were not fully developed,” said Nq’umayo.

Meanwhile, experts have warned that malnutrition levels will continue getting worse if proper interventions are not put in place amidst acute food shortage.

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