World Bank advises on malnutrition


The World Bank has observed that chronic malnutrition remains high among Malawian children but has commended efforts the country is making to address the problem.

World Bank Vice President for Human Development, Keith Hansen, made the observation when he met President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace yesterday.

Hansen observed that Malawi has made significant progress in dealing with chronic malnutrition and is at pace with the best performers in the world.


“It is still quite high at 37 percent, so there’s a long way to go but the recent momentum and acceleration is very encouraging,” he said.

Hansen is visiting the country to promote the World Bank’s early years’ initiative, which include health, nutrition, education, social protection and behavioural change.

“We had a very fruitful discussion with the President about the opportunity that Malawi has to step up its investments in the early years of life. The preschool period in which children develop mental development is the fastest and in many the most important,” he said.


Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe conceded that the country has paid scant attention to early child development.

“The coming of the president has really educated us as to where we should be going. We also took advantage of his being here to ask for the support that we will need in order to really emphasise that part of child education as well as nutrition,” Gondwe said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hansen toured Dedza and Ntcheu where the World Bank is implementing an initiative aimed at curbing malnutrition among under-five children.

Speaking in Dedza, Hansen said he was impressed with how Malawi is fairing in the fight against malnutrition and early childhood development.

He added that among the many countries he has been to, Malawi seems to be making significant advances in the fight against malnutrition.

In this regard, Hansen said when he goes back in office, he would lobby for continued financial support to Malawi.

“I have travelled to so many places and in so many countries but I must say I am very impressed with how Malawi is doing in fighting malnutrition and underfive deaths. The World Bank has been geared in supporting Malawi in fighting malnutrition. With what I have seen, we will find new ways to continue funding these programmes,” he said.

At Kalanzi Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Njolomole in Ntcheu, Hansen visited three houses whose owners were taught good hygiene practices and initiatives aimed at supporting pregnant women and lactating mothers.

In his speech, Mutharika said Malawi’s economy has improved from a downturn occasioned by droughts in two consecutive years and is on track for the Extended Credit Facility programme it has with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“I think we have now done that. We have successfully completed the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility and I think we are now on track. We expect to start negotiations soon on the next credit facility,” Mutharika said.

He pointed to the drop in inflation and interests rates and favourable macroeconomic indicators as further proof of stability.

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