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Health and nutrition programmes in Togo

World Bank gives Togo US$14m for health and nutrition programmes - The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved support to Togo that will help the West African country offer lifesaving health and nutrition services to over 1.3 million people, nearly 60 percent of whom are women and girl children under the age of five.

The new International Development Association (IDA) grant of US$14 million for the Togo Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Services (MCHNP) Project would focus on lowering the child mortality rate, which has remained high at 123 deaths per thousand, and on saving the lives of mothers, many of whom are tragically lost due to childbirth-related causes.

A statement issued by the World Bank said the project would be implemented over four years and could save as many as 17,000 lives during this period, while also paving the way for continued improvement in Togo's monitoring and management of essential public health services.

'I am delighted that we are able to support Togo in one of its most important undertakings, which is to deliver much-needed basic health and nutrition services to under-served people,' said Hervé Assah, World Bank Country Manager for Togo.

'Faster progress in women's and children's health is absolutely critical to meet the Millennium Development Goals, and to Togo's onward development as a nation,' he added.

The statement said anti-malaria efforts under this project would be nationwide. Nutrition services, however, will be concentrated in the regions of Plateaux and Centrale, given their high rates of chronic malnutrition and the fact that the northern regions of Savanes and Kara are already the focus of similar efforts.

The statement said while pregnant women would have access to malaria and nutrition services as part of their routine ante-natal visits, young children--whose nutritional status had been suffering the worst deterioration in the first 1,000 days of life--would benefit from services delivered by trained community health workers who could protect them from untimely illness or death due to both malaria and chronic malnutrition.

'In many African countries, child mortality has been falling rapidly in recent years as a result of similar efforts to deliver basic health services, and we have every reason to expect that this success will be replicated in Togo as well,' said Chris Atim, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.

The statement said the project was fully aligned with the World Bank's two major global goals - reducing extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Official Togolese sources say malaria is the top cause of morbidity and mortality with 1:20 people suffering from malaria dying.

The country’s health services say that in the majority of cases, it is children under-five who die.

On malnutrition, a recent survey carried out on the situation of children and women in Togo, indicates that “90% of Togolese children do not have access to the food that meets appropriate nutritional levels”.

Out of 1,000 children, 108 die before their 15th anniversary and malnutrition is associated with a huge number of cases of early deaths.

Pana 23/02/2014