The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA)* fund has authorised a US$22 million loan to support the Kingdom of Lesotho’s objective of enhancing the usage and quality of services for nutrition and strengthening the health system during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Power of Nutrition will also provide a co-financing award of $4.4 million to the initiative.

Lesotho has one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS and maternal and child death rates. There is also a high teenage fertility rate, significant malnutrition, and an increasing burden of noncommunicable illnesses in the population. A staggering 35% of Lesotho’s children are stunted, a problem that is exacerbated for those whose moms are in their twenties or younger. Stunting is caused by a lack of proper care, poor feeding habits, and poor environmental health in the developing world.

Nutrition and health services will be improved in areas with high rates of stunting as part of Lesotho’s National Food and Nutrition Strategy, which will be carried out in part through the Lesotho Health and Nutrition System Strengthening Project.

The project will teach village health professionals to keep track of children’s growth, give nutritional advice to new mothers and their children, and offer family planning and nutrition materials.

In addition, health and nutrition education in schools & non-formal education institutions will help adolescents aged 10 to 19. Youth peer teachers, youth groups, and health corners for adolescents will all be encouraged to form and grow in their own neighbourhoods.

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