Menu ENN Search

Investing in Nutrition to Reduce Poverty

Summary of published research1

A malnourished child in a therapeutic feeding centre in Kenema

Sierra Leone suffers from endemic and pervasive poverty due to long periods of economic decline and mismanagement. The 10-year civil war has further exacerbated the depth and severity of poverty. As a result, malnutrition rates are among the highest in the world. However, policy makers do not always recognise the fight against malnutrition as a priority to ensure the healthy human capital needed to fight poverty and achieve sustained, positive economic growth. In view of this, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone, with technical support from Helen Keller International and UNICEF, organised a two week workshop on nutrition policy analysis and advocacy. The analysis was conducted by an intersectoral and inter-agency group of Sierra Leonean senior policy advisors representing a large number of government ministries. The analysis covered the period from 2002 to 2006, the five years following the democratic elections that took place in May 2002. The objective of the analysis was to quantify both the consequences of malnutrition on human capital and productivity, and the potential benefits of improved policies and programme to reduce malnutrition.

The analysis revealed that 46% of child deaths in Sierra Leone are attributable to malnutrition, the single greatest cause of child mortality in the country. In the absence of adequate policy and programme action, malnutrition will be the underlying cause of an estimated 74,000 child deaths over the next five years. The analysis also revealed that if current levels of iodine deficiency remain unchanged over the same period, 252,000 children could be born with varying degrees of mental retardation as a result of intrauterine iodine deficiency. Finally, the analysis showed that in the absence of adequate policy and programme action to reduce the unacceptable rates of anaemia in women, the monetary value of agricultural productivity losses associated with anaemia in the female labour force over the next five years will exceed $94.5 million.

A main conclusion of the work was that sustained investment in nutrition in Sierra Leone could bring about enormous human and economic benefits to develop the social sector, revitalise the economy, and attain the poverty reduction towards which Sierra Leone is striving towards.

Show footnotes

1Aguayo V, Scott S and Ross J (2003). Sierra Leone - investing in nutrition to reduce poverty: a call for action. Public Health Nutrition; 6 (7), pp 653-657

More like this

FEX: Technical brief on the cost of malnutrition

Summary of research1 Location: Global What we know: Poor nutrition carries a significant economic burden at individual, national and global levels and prevents poverty...

FEX: An investment framework for nutrition: Reaching the global targets for stunting, anaemia, breastfeeding and wasting

Summary of research* Location: Global What we know: Child malnutrition has lifelong consequences for heath, human capital, economic development, prosperity and equity. Global...

FEX: Nutrition and brain development in early life

Summary of review1 Location: Global What we know: It is likely that nutrition deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood affects individual cognition, behaviour, long...

FEX: Summary of Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition

Below are short summaries of the recently launched Lancet series of papers on Maternal and Child Undernutrition1. This high profile series focuses on the disease burden...

FEX: Weekly menu for midday meal in Bangladeshi schools: Caregivers’ choices

By Abu Ahmed Shamim, Jannaty Mayna, Ishrat Jahan, Syed Muntasir Ridwan and Rudaba Khondker View this article as a pdf Abu Ahmed Shamim is the Nutrition Advisor (Consultant)...

FEX: En-net update July to October 2016 inclusive

Over the past four months 88 questions have been posted on en-net*, generating 228 responses. Forty-two vacancy announcements have been posted, which have accumulated almost...

en-net: POLICY COORDINATOR, SIERRA LEONE (IPA/JPAL PARTNERSHIP)

Job Location: Sierra Leone Contract Length: 1 year Start Date: ASAP Job Description Immunization is often claimed to be one of the most cost-effective methods to improve...

FEX: Defining and treating “high-risk” moderate acute malnutrition using expanded admission criteria (Hi-MAM Study): A cluster-randomised controlled trial protocol

By Natasha Lelijveld, David Taylor Hendrixson, Claire Godbout, Alyssa Los, Jukka M Leppänen, Aminata Koroma and Mark Manary Natasha Lelijveld is a teaching fellow at the...

FEX: Causes of chronic malnutrition: The cultural dimension

By Bronwen Gillespie Bronwen has a degree in Anthropology/International Development and a MA in Global Political Economy. She has worked in the area of food security and...

FEX: Does economic growth reduce childhood undernutrition in Ethiopia?

Summary of research1 Location: Ethiopia What we know: Rapid economic growth in developing countries has had a mixed effect on human development; the impact on reducing...

NEX: Scaling up and improving nutrition in Kyrgyzstan’s school meals programme

View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Emma Khachatryan manages the school meals programme for the World Food Programme (WFP) in the Kyrgyz...

FEX: Integrating anaemia analysis in SMART surveys in Bolivia

By Susana Moreno, Brigitt Olagivel and Elisa Dominguez Susana Moreno Romero is the Nutrition Programme Manager for Acción contra el Hambre (ACH) (Action Against Hunger -...

FEX: Results and lessons learned from WFP’s efforts to support adolescent girls in Niger

By Alexandra Pirola, Benedict Tabiojong Mbeng and Mica Jenkins View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Benedict Tabiojong Mbeng is Head of...

FEX: Capacity development of the national health system for CMAM scale up in Sierra Leone

By Ms Aminata Shamit Koroma, Faraja Chiwile, Marian Bangura, Hannah Yankson and Joyce Njoro Aminata Shamit Koroma is National Food and Nutrition Programme Manager, Ministry...

FEX: Research snapshots

Factors influencing pastoral and agropastoral household vulnerability to food insecurity in Kenya Kenya has a population of more than 38 million, 10% of whom are classified as...

en-net: Call for your experiences on engaging nutrition champions for a new publication.

What is your experience working with nutrition champions, or as a nutrition champion yourself, in making progress for improving nutrition?

The Institute of...

FEX: Global Nutrition Index

Summary of research1 Researchers have recently developed a global nutritional index (GNI) modelled on the human development index. It is based on three indicators of...

FEX: Revisiting Sphere: new standards of service delivery for new trends in protracted displacement

Summary of research1 Protracted refugee situations (PRS) are those in which refugees find themselves in a long-lasting and intractable state of limbo. Roughly half of the...

FEX: Lack of progress in reducing anaemia among women

Summary of article1 Location: Global What we know: Anaemia is a persistent condition amongst women and children under 5 years of age and prevalent worldwide. What this...

FEX: Iron and vitamin A deficiency in African refugees

Summary of published research1 Haemacue survey in Tanzania Five cross-sectional surveys were conducted in refugee camps in north and east Africa between 2000-2002 to assess...

Close

Reference this page

Investing in Nutrition to Reduce Poverty. Field Exchange 22, July 2004. p6. www.ennonline.net/fex/22/investing

(ENN_2492)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.