A Kenyan doctor has been appointed as a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group - a global initiative dedicated to eradicating malnutrition by 2030.
Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group Chief Executive Officer - Amref Health Africa will be part of the UN movement that prioritises nutrition action and collaboration, that includes supporting countries to implement policies and legislation that guarantees the availability of sustainable and nutritious diet for children, adolescents, mothers, and families.
Dr Gitahi, in his role as the Kenyan representative, will join other notable global leaders in overseeing the strategic direction of SUN and implementation across the movement to accelerate and scale-up nutrition in Africa by ensuring countries meet their nutrition targets.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment at a critical time when Africa is witnessing increasing climate-related health challenges, such as malnutrition.
Climate change effects such as floods and droughts put at risk food supplies by driving-down crop yields, destroying livestock, and disrupting the transportation of food – leading to food insecurity. These, compounded by conflicts and economic recession continue to slow down progress to end malnutrition.
Amref Health Africa, through its Global Corporate Strategy (2023-2030), prioritises programming along these social determinants of health and emerging threats to effectively deliver nutrition-based health services to the most vulnerable such as women and girls - who are often the hardest hit by the effects of climate change.
Guterres noted that without good nutrition, there would be no human development. He exuded confidence that through a country-owned multisectoral and multi-stakeholder approach, the movement will effectively tackle malnutrition.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director and Chair of the SUN Movement Lead Group, Catherine Russell, said, “Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of disease and death globally — and a major threat to children.
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"Conflicts, crises, Covid-19, and climate change all threaten to reverse hard-won gains if we don’t get back on track. The SUN Movement is working to raise awareness of nutrition as both a marker and a driver of sustainable development — and to spur new investment and action. I look forward to working with these leaders to reignite a global movement to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030,” she said.
Gladys Mugambi, the acting Head of the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education in the Ministry of Health, has also been appointed as an Ex-Officio Member to the group.
This strengthens Kenya’s position in the global fight against malnutrition.