The World Bank approved $55 million to reduce stunting rates among children under age 5 in 13 of Rwanda’s highest-burden stunting districts. Given the long-term negative effects of stunting on human capital development, addressing stunting, or chronic malnutrition will support Rwanda in attaining its aspiration to become a middle-income country.
Rwanda Stunting Prevention and Reduction Project will support community-based approaches, improve the delivery of high-impact nutrition and health interventions, incentivize frontline community health workers and health personnel, strengthen accountability mechanisms, and promote a learning-by-doing approach to draw lessons on what works and how it can be scaled up.
“The government of Rwanda is strongly committed to bending the arc of history on stunting: 38 percent of children in Rwanda were stunted in 2015,” said Dr Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health of Rwanda. “Good coordination of all stakeholders is critical to our success, and we look forward to working with all our partners on this ambitious endeavour.”
The Government of Rwanda, in partnership with the World Bank, The Power of Nutrition, and the Global Financing Facility (GFF), has developed an integrated program to combat chronic malnutrition, with a focus on high-stunting districts, vulnerable populations, and the critical 1,000 days beyond which stunting becomes largely irreversible.
“Stunting is a stark manifestation of the widespread tendency to under-value, and under-invest in, human capital,” said Tim Evans, Senior Director, Health Nutrition and Population Global Practice, World Bank Group. “This partnership turns the tide on stunting and lays the foundation for every child in Rwanda to achieve success in school and contribute fully to the country’s future economic prosperity.”
“The project aims to promote a paradigm shift in how Rwandans think about stunting, ensuring it is no longer a silent killer, depriving children of their right to grow and prosper,” said Miriam Schneidman, Lead Health Specialist and Task Team Leader, the World Bank Group.
Of the $55 million approved, a $25 million credit is provided by the International Development Association (IDA), a $20 million grant is provided by The Power of Nutrition, and a $10 million grant is provided by the GFF. The project is the centrepiece of the World Bank program and will support innovations in service delivery and roll-out of a new national behavioural change communications strategy.
“Stunting is a social injustice that hides in plain sight. In Rwanda it is estimated that undernutrition is the underlying cause of 22 percent of all child mortality, 13 percent of primary school repetition, and lower adult wages leading to the annual loss of 11.5 percent of GDP,” said Martin Short, CEO of The Power of Nutrition. “We are honoured to contribute to the Government of Rwanda’s ambition to eliminate stunting through this holistic program.”
“The Government of Rwanda has shown great leadership in this bold effort to address chronic stunting,” said Mariam Claeson, Director of the GFF. “The GFF is proud to co-finance Rwanda’s priorities and support multi-sectoral interventions to address stunting with a clear focus on results.”
Original source: World Bank
Published on 28 February 2018