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Improving Nutrition in Tanzania in the 1980s:The Iringa Experience

Yambi, O. and Mlolwa, R. (1992) Improving Nutrition in Tanzania in the 1980s:The Iringa Experience. UNICEF, International Child Development Centre.

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Tanzania began to pursue egalitarian policies during its first decade of independence through the expansion of social services infrastructure, especially in health care and education. By 1980, 70 percent of the population lived no further than five kilometers from a health-care facility, and by 1989 the adult literacy rate stood at 91 percent and the primary school enrolment rate was 84 percent. The Government financed the efforts behind these accomplishments, while communities, in line with the policy of self-reliance, made in-kind contributions, especially labour. More recent economic adjustment measures have threatened the gains achieved in the delivery of social services during the past quarter century. Expenditures on the health care and education have dropped in absolute terms. The share in total expenditure of health care has been around 6 percent, while that of education fell from 13.5 percent in 1980/81 to 11 percent in 1989/90. Physical infrastructure has therefore deteriorated, and households and communities have been called upon to absorb an increasing portion of social services. In order to cushion against further deterioration, the Economic and Social Action Programme has been instituted for the period 1989/90-1991/92. The nutrition status of the population is considered one of the basic indicators to be monitored in this initiative. A comprehensive nutrition programme has been undertaken in Iringa region since 1984. The main objective of this programme is to reduce child and maternal malnutrition. A principal process objective is to raise capabilities at all levels in the assessment and analysis of the nutrition problem and implementation of resource-relevant actions. The programme combines the supply of key services, training a nutrition information and monitoriong system, child care interventions, food security and water and sanitation. At the start of the programme the rate of severe malnutrition among under-5-years-olds was around 6 percent, while moderate malnutrition was affected about 50 percent of the under-5 population. Within four years severe malnutrition had been cut to below 2 percent, and moderate malnutrition to 35 percent. These successes have been attributed to the interventions, and they have been achieved despite the overall slump in the economy and in social service financing. Because of the positive results in Iringa, a number of regional basic service programmes have been reoriented to profit from the “Iringa approach”. As in Iringa, malnutrition has subsequently declined in these programme areas despite the relatively poor economic situation. The core elements for the realization, training and community-b ased information and monitoring systems. The early provision of critical services has also been found to be important. Initially, the “ongoing” cost of the Iringa Nutrition Programme averaged $8 per child per year, which is within the range of costs of programmes having a demonstrated nutrition impact. Experience from several area-based programmes in the country has shown that costs can now be lowered, and critical elements can be implemented for approximately $2.55 per child per year. The Iringa Nutrition Programme has relied heavily on donor support, which covered 82 percent of the total programme expenditure for the period 1984-7. Community contributions have also been very important, amounting to 66 percent of the national input into programme funding. The success of the Iringa Nutrition Progrmme has encouraged the appearance of other programmes with clear goals in nutrition. It has also led the Government to allocate growing financial support for such programmes. Meanwhile, a national food and nutrition policy has been adopted. It assigns a major role to nutrition status indicators in the monitoring of development in Tanzania.

Item Type: Other
Keywords: Nutrition, Tanzania, Iringa,
Subjects: Nutrition & food security > Food security
Nutrition & food security > Diet
Divisions: Other
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Madata
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2012 05:47
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2012 05:47

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