Nutrition

FY2017 Funding Recommendation:  
$230 million

 

Funding History

       Enacted   

       President's FY2017 Request   

       InterAction's FY2017 Recommendation


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Justification

 Key Facts

Investments in nutrition are a cost-effective way to ensure that children everywhere have a chance to survive and thrive.  Good nutrition during the 1,000 days between the start of a woman's pregnancy and her child's second birthday builds the foundation for human health and development. 

Improving nutrition during this period can boost a country's GDP by as much as 12% annually, and new studies show that every $1 invested in preventing stunting results in $18 in economic returns. In this way, nutrition is a building block for all health and development priorities, helping to break the cycle of poverty and improve the well-being of entire communities.

Targeted U.S. investments in nutrition, combined with host-country and other global efforts, are yielding significant returns on investment. The development of the USAID Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy and the commitment to reduce stunting by 20% over five years in Feed the Future focus regions has resulted in early impact on stunting reduction. Recent data shows that in regions of Kenya, Bangladesh and Cambodia, child stunting has been reduced by 25%, 21% and 14%, respectively, and Ethiopia has reduced stunting by 9% nationally. These dramatic reductions help prevent impaired motor and cognitive development, allowing children to reach their full potential.

2016 presents a unique opportunity for the U.S. to recommit to accelerating and scaling up efforts to end preventable child and maternal deaths, reduce stunting and wasting, and reach other global nutrition targets. A strong commitment at the Nutrition for Growth conference, held on the occasion of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, would enhance existing U.S. efforts, leverage investments from other donors, and encourage domestic resource mobilization from countries most affected by undernutrition.  

$230 million for nutrition in the Global Health Programs account would serve as a down payment toward the future economic prosperity of communities and entire countries. The account supports cost-effective, integrated approaches to prevent undernutrition. This smart and forward-looking investment would finance activities such as nutrition education to improve maternal diets, proper nutrition during pregnancy, exclusive breastfeeding, and improved infant and young child feeding practices. At the same time, nutrition-sensitive approaches that address underlying determinants of malnutrition are essential to fully address the problem. Now is the time for the U.S. to invest in nutrition and transform the lives of women, children, and entire communities.

Success Story

Early to Breast, Early to Thrive: Let’s Make It Work for Women in Developing Countries

At three months old, Thérèse’s son Ataadji was malnourished and unhealthy, weighing in at only six pounds. Within two months, Ataadji transformed into a thriving, healthy baby and his weight nearly tripled. The keys to this success? An Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) support group and exclusive breastfeeding.

Early breastfeeding is critical for maternal and newborn health (MNH). It serves as the baby’s “first vaccination,” providing an initial boost to the baby’s immune and digestive systems. It also promotes early skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, reduces post-partum hemorrhage, and more.

Across the Sud Kivu, Katanga, Kasaï Oriental, and Kasaï Occidental provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), only 2% of newborns were breastfed within the first hour of their birth in 2011. Ninety-eight percent of newborns were missing out on the benefits of early breastfeeding – making them more susceptible to malnutrition, illness, and other health and nutrition problems in the future.

Since 2010, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) has worked across these four provinces, which constitute nearly 20% of DRC’s population, to improve MNH and nutrition. Through the USAID-funded Integrated Health Project (IHP), MSH supported optimal early breastfeeding practices, and by September 2014, 96% of newborns in these provinces were breastfed within the first hour after birth.

Two key interventions helped IHP achieve these impressive results:

  • BUILDING SUPPORT FOR NEW MOMS AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL
    IHP’s biggest success is the integration of IYCF promotion into communities, particularly through creating and helping support groups for the mothers, a support service that did not previously exist. These groups share positive breastfeeding experiences and benefits; supervise and coach mothers; conduct cooking demonstrations with local foods and provide nutrition education to women and their families. Through an IYCF support group Thérèse received the training and continued support she needs for Ataadji. By training health zone management teams, trusted service providers, and community health workers in IYCF, IHP has established 1,080 IYCF support groups to date, reaching women and their families in 45 health zones within the four provinces.
  • IMPLEMENTING POLICY CHANGE AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL
    Working with the Ministry of Health, IHP facilitated the development of a national breastfeeding policy directing all health workers in DRC to help mothers breastfeed their newborns within an hour of giving birth. IHP took the directive one step further, working to circulate and implement this policy in health centers and hospitals around the country. With 85% of all deliveries occurring in health facilities, this directive is reaching women and helping them adopt early, optimal breastfeeding practices.

Through community- and national-level interventions, IHP is successfully increasing the number of women adopting early, optimal breastfeeding, and is committed to fighting all forms of malnutrition. IYCF groups continue to improve health and nutrition outcomes as rates of early breastfeeding increase; cases of malnutrition, childhood diarrhea, and fever decrease; and community relationships and health systems are strengthened.

Looking to the future, these highly-effective, low-cost interventions can easily be adopted across DRC and in other fragile states to save more babies like Ataadji.

 

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