Sun Business Network Interface Meeting with Minister of Health
The Minister of Health, Honourable Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda MP held an interface meeting with Chief Executive Officers from different institutions in the Private Sector at Bingu International Convention Center on 17th December, 2021 from 08.00 am to 10.30 am. The purpose of the meeting was to interact with the private sector to share key issues that affect the nation as a result of malnutrition and how the private sector can contribute towards ending all forms of malnutrition. Other high dignitaries at the meeting included the Director of Department of Nutrition, HIV and Aids (DNHA) Dr Felix Pensulo Phiri, as well as the Country Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Paul Turnbull.
The Minister requested the private sector to actualize their commitments towards the Presidential initiative to end all forms of malnutrition in Malawi by 2030. The President of Malawi Dr. McCarthy Chakwera led the nation to renew efforts in ending malnutrition in the country by launching Scaling Up Nutrition 3.0 strategy on 2nd of September 2021. During the launch, several networks including the SUN Business Network (SBN) made commitments on behalf of the private sector, to support in addressing the issue of malnutrition in Malawi.
The following are some of the commitments that the Minister made to strengthen private sector and Government partnership in achieving the agenda:
- Her ministry will advocate to strengthen the regulatory environment for business investment within the food system.
- The ministry will create markets for locally produced supplementary and therapeutic foods in line with the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the International Standards.
- The ministry will also support nutrition at workplace initiatives through provision of guidance and other technical assistance.
In response, the Country Director of WFP assured the Minister that WFP will continue to support government’s efforts to engage the private sector by enabling them to invest in nutrition through the SUN Business Network. He mentioned that the SBN network is the only dedicated global platform for business and nutrition, formed to reduce malnutrition in all its forms by engaging and supporting businesses across different industries. The Network is convened by WFP in Malawi.
Speaking on behalf of the private sector, Mr Mahesh Ghedia (CEO of Paramount Commodities) conquered with Mr Turnbull by informing the Minister that through the coordination of the SBN Convenor the WFP, and the Chair of SBN, Sunbird, some private sector companies did meet to discuss how they would support the actualisation of the commitments made under SUN 3.0.
Mr Ghedia mentioned the following as some initiatives discussed at the meeting.
- Provision of nutritious agricultural crops and livestock, fisheries and dairy products to vulnerable groups in selected districts.
- There will be efforts in construction of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities, as well as distribution of water treatment supplies
- Some companies will offer support to resilience and women empowerment through finance related programmes, e.g trainings and support to Village Saving Loans
- Provision of support to food fortification at scale, including finding solutions for fortification of maize at community level through local maize millers.
- Finally, to conduct workplace nutrition interventions in companies that have 100 and more employees, especially those with employees that come from disadvantaged backgrounds.