Nairobi, 2 June 2023: Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO – Amref Health Africa has been appointed as a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group – a global initiative dedicated to eradicating all forms of malnutrition by 2030. The movement prioritizes nutrition action and collaboration, which includes supporting countries to implement policies and legislation that guarantees the availability of sustainable and nutritious diets 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.
This appointment comes at a critical time when Africa witnesses 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), prioritizes 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.
In a detailed statement about the appointment, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that without good nutrition, there would be no human development. He, however, exuded confidence that through country-owned multisectoral and multi-stakeholder approach, the movement will effectively tackle the challenge of malnutrition.
These sentiments were echoed by Catherine Russell, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director and Chair of the SUN Movement Lead Group. She said, “malnutrition is one of the leading causes of disease and death globally — and a major threat to children. 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.”
Ms. Gladys Mugambi, the acting Head of the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education in Kenya’s Ministry of Health, has also been appointed as an Ex-Officio Member of the group. This strengthens Kenya’s position in the global fight against malnutrition.
About Amref Health Africa
Amref Health Africa, headquartered in Kenya, is the largest Africa-based international health and development organisation providing training and health services to over 20 million people annually in at least 30 countries in Africa. Amref Health Africa continues to evolve and innovate the approaches to increase sustainable health access among communities.
Amref manages a full range of medical and public health programmes tackling the most critical health challenges facing the continent – including global health emergencies, communicable and non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases, maternal and childcare, as well as water, sanitation and climate change. Much of our credibility with local communities and African governments stems from the relationship and trust that we have built over the past 65 years.