The Ethiopian Government’s commitment to end undernutrition by 2030 is ambitious, meaning every birr and dollar spent to scale-up life-saving nutrition interventions counts. R4D is supporting the Government of Ethiopia to track these investments, ensuring they have the data needed for policy and planning decisions.
Malnutrition is a critical health problem in Ethiopia, with 38% of children in Ethiopia stunted. Stunting is a largely irreversible result of chronic undernutrition that leads to weaker immune systems and diminished cognitive capacity. Furthermore, one in ten children in Ethiopia are wasted and suffering from acute malnutrition, which is a leading cause of death in children under 5. The result is hundreds of thousands of children dying and millions who will never reach their full potential – from a condition that is preventable.
In July 2015, the Government of Ethiopia declared it would strive to end child malnutrition within its borders by 2030 in what is known as the Seqota Declaration. The Seqota Declaration was named after a town that was the epicenter of a catastrophic famine in the 1980s. The Government has developed the multi-sectoral National Nutrition Program (NNP-II) as a guiding framework to achieve this goal.
The Declaration was a clear signal that the Ethiopian government is committed to addressing the issue of malnutrition in the country. And as the government moves from talk to action, it must mobilize additional nutrition funding. To do this, the Government of Ethiopia must first understand how much additional funding is needed. Part of this entails having a comprehensive understanding of development partner actions towards the common goal of ending undernutrition, including financial commitments.
Between January 2016 and August 2017, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and R4D collaborated to track funding for nutrition across sectors, in line with the NNP-II, with financial support from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). The outputs of this multi-sectoral resource tracking exercise—which compiled nutrition expenditure data for Ethiopian Fiscal Years (EFY) 2006-2007 (2013/14 to 2014/15) and budget data for EFY 2008 (2015/16)—were finalized in August 2017 and culminated with a dissemination event in Addis Ababa to share the findings.
Following the dissemination of the Phase I report, the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia (FMoH) requested continued support from R4D to build capacity within existing systems to ensure the analysis continues on a routine basis.
With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, R4D is again collaborating with the FMoH to support nutrition resource tracking in Phase 2 of the project. The primary goal is to institutionalize the resource mapping exercise within FMoH annual planning for sustainability reasons, building on lessons learned and past experiences.
A routine nutrition financing analysis can be used to inform nutrition policy and budget planning in Ethiopia and has the potential to help mobilize additional nutrition funding in the country. In the long run, the results of our work can help save lives and improve nutritional outcomes in Ethiopia.