No country is immune to the burden of malnutrition. Despite continuous improvements in health outcomes and economic development, malnutrition levels remain unacceptably high and progress towards reducing them is too slow. Good nutrition protects from illness, shortens the recovery time and reduces the risk of death. It is, furthermore, fundamental for achieving the right to food and the right to health.
Mainstreaming and scaling up nutrition services within health systems would save lives, reduce healthcare spending and accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, especially Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) and SDG3. Essential nutrition actions are crucial at all levels of health service delivery.
During the United Nations General Assembly’s 78th session, a high-level meeting (HLM) on UHC is being convened to deliver a concise, action-oriented declaration to accelerate progress towards the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030. In support of the HLM on UHC, the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, the World Health Organization and UN-Nutrition are jointly hosting a special side-event at the margins of the UNGA, co-sponsored by the Governments of Bangladesh, France and Japan.
- Encourage governments and partners to fully integrate nutrition interventions into national health systems, as an important component for achieving quality universal health coverage (UHC)
- Encourage country policy and financial commitments to integrate nutrition interventions into national health systems
- Encourage countries to implement concrete measures to integrate nutrition into health systems through the showcasing of concrete examples in champion countries
The event brought together government representatives of Bangladesh, France, Ghana, Japan, Indonesia and the UK, as well as nutrition leaders of Amref Health Africa, Helen Keller Intl, Nutrition International, the SUN Movement, UN-Nutrition and WHO. Each shared their experiences, successes, opportunities and challenges in the integration of essential nutrition actions into universal health coverage. Echoing through the event was the universal agreement that the Essential Nutrition Actions provide a focused guide on what health systems need to achieve the health and economic benefits of eliminating malnutrition in all its forms. This was coupled with the shared concerns that current progress on their implementation is too slow, with the resounding need to strengthen dedicated financial investment for nutrition, workforce capacity and political commitment to accelerate country led implementation. Powerful advocacy tools, such as nutrition investment cases, youth advocates, community ownership and strong data are emerging to realize this shared vision and must be utilized to progress the commitment to improved nutrition within the upcoming resolution on UHC.