The Cost of Hunger in Africa (CoHA): The Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition in Malawi report shows that the country loses significant sums of money each year as a result of child undernutrition through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens to the education system and lower productivity by its workforce. It estimates that child undernutrition cost Malawi 10.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2012 (most recent year with complete data).
The 12-country, government-led study is commissioned by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s Planning and Coordinating Agency and supported by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the UN World Food Programme. The study's model estimates the additional cases of illness, death, school repetitions, school dropouts, and reduced physical productivity directly associated with those suffering undernutrition before the age of five. Based on data from each country, the model then estimates the associated economic losses incurred by the economy in terms of health, education, and potential productivity in a single year. So far, it has been conducted in six countries in Africa including Malawi.
Some key findings to emerge from the study in Malawi reveal that:
Overall, the Cost of Hunger in Africa study serves as an important tool to show how undernutrition is not just a health issue, but an economic and social one as well that requires multi-sectoral commitment and investment. It reinforces the critical need to prioritize nutrition in the national development agenda.
Overcoming malnutrition in all of its forms – caloric undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity – requires a combination of interventions in different areas that guarantee the availability of and access to healthy diets. Among the key areas, interventions are required in food systems, public health systems and the provision of safe water and sanitation. This pocketbook not only focuses on indicators of food security and nutritional outcomes but also on the determinants that contribute to healthy lives. The pocketbook is structured in two sections: Thematic spreads related to food security and nutrition, including detailed food consumption data collected from national household budget surveys; Comprehensive country and regional profiles with indicators categorized by anthropometry, nutritional deficiencies, supplementation, dietary energy supplies, preceded by their "setting". The setting provides demographic indicators as well as health status indicators based on mortality patterns and the provision of safe water and sanitation. Anthropometry indicators provide information not only on the prevalence of acute and chronic forms of under-nutrition but also on the prevalence of obesity. Their co-existence is often referred to as the double burden of malnutrition. Nutritional deficiency indicators reveal food security issues at the national level based on the adequacy of energy supplies; they also reveal the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies, often referred to as “hidden hunger”. Combined with anthropometric measurements, they allow for the identification of the triple burden of malnutrition (under-nutrition, obesity and hidden hunger). Regarding hidden hunger, indicators concerning iodine and vitamin A have been selected. Dietary indicators are based on national food supplies and inform on the overall quality of diets. Focus is also on the importance of diets during the first 1 000 days of an infant’s life, with indicators selected on the quality of breastfeeding, dietary diversity and meal frequency.
As part of a three-phase project, the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) sponsored a comparative study of the globally managed cross-country price and market information systems to assess complementarities and overlaps.
This report contains a review of these databases in terms of data collection, quality control mechanisms, management, use, analysis methods and tools. It includes recommendations to improve the integration and harmonization of the FAO, WFP and FEWS NET databases, in order to improve efficiency and enhance inter-operability.
A second phase is underway to begin implementing these recommendations, identify gaps in existing guidance, and review how market price data are collected and used in selected countries.
The ultimate objective of the project is to facilitate national capacity development on FSN information systems based on expressed demands.
This paper published by the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) proposes a common analytical model that comprises six components upon which resilience measurement may be based. It also:
The next outputs of the TWG will be short papers which contain guidance in targeted areas of resilience measurement.