African Union Commission, The New Partnership for Africa's Development, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, World Food Programme
The Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) is an African Union Commission (AUC)-led initiative through which countries are able to estimate the social and economic impacts of child undernutrition. Twelve countries are participating in the study. Swaziland is part of the four first-phase countries.
The Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) Study presents an opportunity to better understand the role that child nutrition can play as a catalyst for social and economic transformation, and human development. In Swaziland the results of the study strongly suggest that, to achieve sustainable human and economic growth, special attention must be given to addressing nutrition in the early stages of an individual’s life. The study estimates that child undernutrition generates health costs equivalent to 0.6% of the total public budget allocated to health, and that only 3 out of every 10 children are estimated to be receiving proper health attention. The study further demonstrates that nearly 1 out of every 10 reported deaths of children is associated to undernutrition. With regards to education, the results show that 18.9% of all grade repetitions in school are associated to the higher incidence of repetition experienced by stunted children.
Some of the key findings of the study indicate the need for scaling-up current interventions and developing innovative solutions to fight child undernutrition in Swaziland. Going forward, it is recommended that the Government of Swaziland reviews their national development frameworks to ensure that the reduction of the stunting provenance is an outcome indicator of their social and economic development policies; sets aggressive targets for the reduction of stunting; puts in place a comprehensive multi-sectoral policy in which the role of international aid is complementary to nationally led investments; implements a more systematic approach with shorter periodicity in order to measure short term results in the prevention of stunting; and include information in the assessment that relates the nutritional status of the children to the livelihoods and economic activities of the households.