Nutrition remains a serious health and development problem in Malawi. While stunting and underweight rates decreased markedly from 2004 to 2010 (from 53% to 47% and 17% to 14% respectively), the rates remain high and are a reflection of chronic shortages in food quantity and quality. USAID’s programs therefore focus on preventing chronic under-nutrition. As a lynchpin across various U.S. Government initiatives, nutrition programs are funded through multiple sources.
Feed the Future (FTF), the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, focuses broadly on value chain development (groundnuts and soya), nutrition-related behavior change communication, and agricultural policy reform. The geographic focus is on the central and southern regions of Malawi, which have limited arable land for productive agriculture and therefore present the greatest nutrition challenges. FTF emphasizes the improvement of both production and consumption of crops selected for value chain development. USAID/Malawi’s flagship FTF project, Integrating Nutrition into Value Chains, began in April 2012 and addresses all major components of FTF’s strategy.
The USAID Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) project started in July 2009. WALA works in eight food-insecure districts in southern Malawi, providing beneficiary households with a holistic package of services to reduce food insecurity and mitigate the effects of localized natural disasters. The nutrition component of the program targets children under five and pregnant and lactating mothers with interventions that improve food utilization and increase adoption of nutrition and health behaviors. The interventions are also implemented through the Care Group Model, using services of community-based volunteers.
USAID also provides nutrition-related assistance through three activities under the Global Health Initiative project entitled, “Support for Service Delivery Integration” (SSDI). SSDI has developed performance quality standards for various services that integrate nutrition, such as focused antenatal care, postnatal care, growth monitoring and promotion, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, and the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness. USAID also supports the treatment of severely malnourished children through the institutionalization of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) into existing activities of health facilities. There are now 502 health facilities with established capacity to manage acute under-nutrition, representing 81 percent of all health facilities.
In the area of micronutrients, USAID funds UNICEF’s work with the Government of Malawi’s (GOM) to fortify selected centrally processed foods. USAID also traditionally supports the universal salt iodization program, and 87% percent of the salt in Malawi is adequately iodized. As a result of USAID’s contribution, Illovo Sugar Malawi Ltd. fortifies sugar with Vitamin A and the SSDI-services project provided vitamin A supplementation for 133,046 children in fiscal year 2013. USAID also funds messages about the value of using fortified foods.
Under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID helps people living with HIV and affected households in attaining food and nutrition security and provides targeted supplemental nutrition to orphans and vulnerable children.
Chronic malnutrition in children is high in Malawi, but it can be prevented
Funding (FY 2013)
- Government of Malawi
- Bunda College
- Catholic Relief Services
- Concern Worldwide
- Feed the Children
- FHI 360
- Tufts University
- Development Alternatives Inc.
Website: www.usaid.gov/ malawi
Last updated: July 14, 2014