WFP/UNFPA launch new partnership to improve nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding women

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Mothers and their children wait in line at the nutrition center in Bamako, Mali. Credit: OCHA

The World Food Programme (WFP) and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, are launching a new partnership to improve nutrition among pregnant and breastfeeding women to ensure the next generation of children achieve the best possible start in life.

The new initiative, which launches ahead of the "Nutrition for Growth" summit in London on 8 June, aims to address the nutritional needs of women throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. The goal is to reduce the number of low birth weight babies and stunted children, who as a result, grow up blighted by health problems and experience a detrimental impact on their learning and economic potential.

WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin said "When a mother consumes a nutritious and balanced diet before and after giving birth, her baby thrives". She added that "Providing women, particularly adolescent girls, with access to nutritious food cements the next generation's opportunity for a healthy and productive future".

The partnership between WFP and UNFPA supports the "1000 Days" initiative, which focuses on improving nutrition in the first 1000 days between the start of woman's pregnancy and her child's 2nd birthday.

UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin explained that "As the global community enters a final push to achieve the MDGs, Maternal Health remains the goal that lags furthest behind", adding "Maternal nutrition can play an essential role to improve pregnancy outcomes for both the mother and her newborn child.

Under the partnership, WFP and UNFPA are planning to roll out pilot programmes in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Zambia, where they will focus on improving nutrition among women prior to, during and after pregnancy, continuing until the child reaches 6 months of age.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’42″

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