The Government of Lesotho joins forces with the United Nations to address Malnutrition
20 November 2020
The Government of Lesotho and the UN in Lesotho officially launched a Maximum Intervention Programme (MIP), supported by the global Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger (REACH) initiative. This Programme is aimed at enhancing food and nutrition security in Lesotho especially during this COVID-19 pandemic that has negatively affected food and nutrition security.
In the wake of the prevailing COVID-19 global pandemic, the Food and Nutrition Coordinating Office (FNCO) in collaboration with development partners and guided by the National Food and Nutrition Strategy and Costed Action Plan initiated the food and nutrition Maximum Intervention Programme(MIP) through the Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger (REACH). REACH is an inter-agency partnership of FAO, WHO, UNICEF, WFP and IFAD under the UN Network for Nutrition that promotes country-owned and country-led, multi-sectoral approach to addressing malnutrition.
The Maximum Intervention Programme was officially launched in Quthing, Qomo-qomong and Ha Ramosoeu villages where targeted people were reached with educational materials on vegetable production, promotion of dietary diversity and child feeding. This support has also mainstreamed COVID19 awareness on hygiene and other preventive measures.
The nutrition situation in Lesotho remains of a great concern. Studies show that stunting rates remain high at 33.2% among children under 5 years of age, micronutrient deficiencies are rife among children aged 6 to 59 months, particularly iron deficiency or anaemia and over 27% of girls and women and 14 % of boys and men in the 15-49 age range are also anaemic. Lesotho is striving to harness the potential of all key players in food and nutrition to synergize efforts that address all forms of malnutrition for all people by 2030. The programme will be implemented in the four districts of Mokhotlong, Botha-Bothe, Thaba-Tseka and Quthing which have high rates of stunting. The programme is aimed at diversifying diets in hard-to-reach areas and among the most vulnerable populations by introducing community-based promotion on productivity of nutritious foods.
United Nations (UN) recognizes that nutrition is central to the sustainable development agenda and that there is need for both horizontal and vertical coherence in implementation of the programmes.
Speaking at the launch ceremony on behalf of UN agencies, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Salvator Niyonzima, highlighted that: “Malnutrition is crippling the health of our children in Lesotho, often times even leading to death, and this needs to come to an end. It is still a problem which can be solved and a preventable one if we continue to combine efforts together in order to achieve a sustainable reduction of malnutrition in Lesotho.”
Notable initiatives have been undertaken by the leadership of Lesotho to raise the profile of nutrition and the national policy on food and nutrition was endorsed by the Government in 2016. Furthermore, Lesotho is fully supported by the Royal Family with His Majesty as the African Union Champion on Nutrition and globally, as the Food and Agricultural Organisation’s Special Ambassador on Nutrition and the World Bank’s Human Capital Ambassador.