Washington, July 9, 2018 – The World Bank announced today new support for Djibouti’s goal of reversing and ultimately eliminating childhood stunting with a US$15 million credit from IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. This investment in human capital development, will focus on the critical first 1,000 days from pregnancy to age two, before stunting becomes largely irreversible. It will target the multiple causes of stunting with activities aimed at providing 100,000 women and adolescent girls and 50,000 children with key health and nutrition services, tripling the rate of breastfeeding, and raising the percentage of children fully immunized before their first birthday to 80%.
“Through our partnership with the World Bank we are investing in our people and building a healthy human capital that is key to Djibouti’s future growth and prosperity,” said Dr Djama Elmi Okieh, Minister of Health. “The evidence is clear that the cost of treating malnutrition is twice the cost of preventing it.”
The Towards Zero Stunting in Djibouti Project drew on global experience for its comprehensive strategy involving coordinated actions at the national and community levels, and a focus on scaling up the ongoing delivery of high impact nutrition and health services. The project will fund the objectives of the Government to expand the capacities of health facilities and community health workers to monitor and promote healthy growth for children. This will include ensuring children are receiving key nutrients such as Vitamin A and zinc, along with critical health treatments such as deworming, while increasing the number of ante- and postnatal care visits for women for counseling on infant and young child feeding and hygiene practices, and access to key supplements such as iron and folic acid.
“Stunting has multiple causes, and to address them all will require coordinated actions across multiple sectors such as health, social protection, education, sanitation and water,” said Elizabeth Mziray, World Bank Senior Operations Officer andTask Team Leader for the project. “Technology will also play a critical role in the tracking of project beneficiaries and monitoring of the program to ensure that the services are provided and delivered in a better way to meet the needs of the population”
The World Bank’s portfolio in Djibouti consists of eleven IDA-funded projects totaling US$135 million. The portfolio is focused on social safety nets, energy, rural community development, urban poverty reduction, health, education, modernization of public administration, governance and private sector development, with particular emphasis on women and youth.