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Ethiopia’s push for early childhood development

Ato Abdulaziz Mohammed

Ato Abdulaziz Mohammed

The government of Ethiopia is intensifying efforts aimed at reducing childhood malnutrition and addressing challenges militating against early child development.

Ato Abdulaziz Mohammed, Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, while contributing to an IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings special section on “Human Capital Summit: Investing in the Early Years for Growth and Productivity,” says the country has drastically reduced childhood malnutrition by strengthening service delivery and institutions.

According to him, Ethiopia is currently working on its 2015 declaration on nutrition, which a multi-faceted approach to reducing childhood malnutrition. The first phase of implementation of the agenda is to provide water and sanitation.

Mohammed says government’s aspiration is to eradicate stunted childhood by 2017. He notes that some of the programmes geared towards addressing the issue include agriculture growth projects, poverty safety nets, and advancing access to health especially for women and children.

The minister recalls that the national nutrition programme was reviewed in 2013 to take into account the multi-dimensional nature of nutrition. Then, it was hosted by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and several other ministries. He says the strategic objective was to strengthen the implementation of the nutritional- related interventions across multiple sectors such as agriculture, water, education and social-cohesion; improve co-ordination, implementation and capacity building.

The Ethiopian government is also counting on the support of its development partners to make the declaration a huge success. Mohammed says that the Ethiopian government appreciates the support so far received from International Development Agencies and partners in its efforts to address the challenges the country faces in its early child years agenda.

“We are moving forward with an additional US$150 million for a health project which includes a strong nutrition component. We are also requesting US$900 million in additional resources to support the early year agenda in education and social protection. We will complement these national efforts with US$600 million for decentralized services to support local health, education, and agriculture services,” Ato Abdulaziz says.

By Dike Onwuamaeze

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