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Rwanda to end malnutrition ahead of global target

KIGALI, March, 25 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda has announced plans to end malnutrition before the global target to do so by 2025, according to country's Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi.

The premier, who was speaking to reporters on Thursday shortly after opening the first round table of Compact2025, said that Rwanda cannot lag behind in fighting malnutrition where other countries have succeeded.

Compact2025 is a global campaign aimed to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2025.

Latest statistics from the Rwanda agriculture ministry indicates that malnutrition rate in children has dropped from 52 percent in 2005 to 38 per cent in 2016.

Rwanda Minister of Agriculture and Resources Géraldine Mukeshimana said that Rwanda has demonstrated the will to end the global scourge ahead of 2025 which has led to the drop of malnutrition rate. The drop is a result of several initiatives set out by the government to fight malnutrition and hunger.

"We are currently focusing on education of women and their empowerment on decision making on family fund use. A study we conducted recently revealed that malnutrition was less among children born to educated women than those born to non-educated women," the minister said.

The government has put more efforts in fighting hunger and malnutrition by setting up various initiatives like the One Cow Per Poor Family programme, One Cup of Milk per Child per day, school feeding programme and establishment of the national grain strategic reserve.

Boosting agricultural productivity and improving food security is a priority under Rwanda Vision 2020, which includes child nutrition as a key indicator.

Food security and nutrition are considered key issues in growth blueprint, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.

In the east Africa region, Rwanda lags behind Uganda and Kenya, which report lower children malnutrition rate, but performs better than Tanzania and Burundi.

Murekezi said the government will continue implementing existing programmes such as Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Malnutrition, and the Crop Intensification Programme.

Experts at the meeting revealed that about a million children die every year as a result of inadequate nutrition and that millions more have their prospects irreversibly damaged by the devastating effects of malnutrition.

They're calling for world leaders respect global target to bring down the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition and take action to end child deaths from hunger.

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