project steering committee on post crisis response to food and nutrition
insecurity in The Gambia; an EU funded project through FAO, UNICEF and WFP
recently visited various intervention sites of the project across the country.
The delegation comprises of officials of the ministry of health and social welfare, health promotion and education unit, department of agriculture and the EU delegation.
The tour was meant to have a face to face meeting with various beneficiaries and discuss the impact of the project in improving their livelihood and the challenges. It took the delegation to the central medical store at Kotu, food store at Essau, FAO funded input distribution at Kerr Omar Saine; UNICEF and WFP funded nutrition education center at Kerewan and the farmer field school at Yallal Tankong Jalla.
Briefing the media at Farafenni, Ousman Dem, WFP’s nutrition program and policy officer said post crisis response to food and nutrition insecurity in The Gambia focuses on advocating and addressing behavioral changes and enhancing fortification.
He said the supplementary program targets under age and malnourish children and pregnant and lactating mothers. “The intervention will strengthen capacity of vulnerable smallholder farmers to sustainably boost household food security and income and provide a comprehensive package for the promotion of optimal nutrition and care practices and social and behavioral change communications to enhance child maternal nutrition and health.”
Modou Njie, director of health promotion and education unit said the project was launched in June 2017 to contribute to the reduction of food insecurity and malnutrition in the Gambia.
He said under the project, UNICEF and WFP have teamed up with the ministry of health and social welfare, National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), Gambia Red Cross Society and other relevant partners to help combat stunting.
According to him, implementing partners have successfully conducted a mass screening for symptoms of acute and severe malnutrition among all children under five in north, central, Lower and Upper River regions. “The initiative targets an estimated number of 40,000 children less than two years for malnutrition prevention, 16,000 children under five for treatment of moderate acute malnutrition and 7,500 pregnant and nursing mothers for treatment of acute malnutrition.”
He said the project also promotes and supports the practice of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of a child’s life, saying between October and December 2017, more than 30, 000 children under 6-23 months were provided with fortified food called plumpy sup for the prevention of malnutrition.